SEG® Licensing Business

HighChem, in collaboration with Ube Industries, Ltd., is developing a SEG® technology licensing business for energy-related companies in China.

What is SEG® technology?

SEG® technology uses synthetic gas as a raw material to produce ethylene glycol (a type of polyester manufacturing raw material) derived from non-petroleum sources. A wide range of raw materials such as coal, natural gas, and industrial exhaust gas can be used as the raw material. We are also conducting research and development on the production of ethylene glycol using biomass and CO₂ as raw materials.

Low Environmental Impact and Highly Economical Process

Conventionally, ethylene glycol is produced by the "ethylene method" using petroleum as a raw material, but the carbon atom utilization rate is as low as 70%, with 25% being emitted as CO₂. However, the SEG® method achieves a carbon atom utilization rate of 95%, making it a process with low environmental impact and high economic efficiency. Therefore, half of the ethylene glycol produced in China has changed to SEG® method.

Industrialization track record

CO₂ reduction effect of about 1.25 million tons per year (Unit: ten thousand ton)

HighChem has signed a total of 23 license agreements for SEG® technology, with a total production capacity of approximately 9.4 million tons per year. More than 1 million tons of this is in commercial operation. In addition to energy sources such as coal and natural gas, off-gas emitted during the production of carbide and steel can also be used. Within the total amount produced under license, 750,000tons uses this off-gas as the raw material, and if all of these projects go into operation, it will reduce CO₂ emissions by about 1.25 million tons per year (as of August 2020).

  • World's first SEG® plant

    In 2012, the first ethylene glycol plant started full-scale operation in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. This plant is regarded as the world's first plant to efficiently and stably produce high-purity ethylene glycol from synthetic gas derived from carbide. In addition, the facility consumes 48,000 tons of CO each year, achieving a reduction of approximately 75,000 tons of CO₂ annually.

  • World's first SEG® plant using natural gas

    In November 2019, the world's first ethylene glycol plant to use natural gas as a raw material started full-scale operation. This is a 150,000 ton/year ethylene glycol plant operated by Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp. It has reached the planned production capacity and production volume with excellent results for 3 days under an average load of 104%, and various evaluations of indicators and approvals have also been completed.

  • World's first SEG® plant using off-gas from a steel mill

    In August 2020, the world's first plant to produce ethylene glycol from off-gas at a steel mill went into operation. This project is run by Shanxi Woneng Chemical Technology Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of a major Chinese private steel company, with an annual production of 300,000 tons. If the plant operates all year, it is expected to save 560,000 tons of CO₂ annually.

Global expansion

Up to now, HighChem has been developing its licensing business mainly in China. Based on this know-how, we plan to expand globally in the future. We will develop the SEG® business in countries such as Turkmenistan, Indonesia, Middle Eastern countries, Russia, and Canada, which have abundant resources such as natural gas. We are actively developing the business, with the aim of further expanding around the world.