©︎ Microwave Chemical Co.,Ltd.
Entrepreneur Iwao Yoshino and scientist Yasunori Tsukahara met in 2006. The following year in 2007, they founded Microwave Chemical Co., Ltd (hereafter MWCC), to “solve environmental problems through business” and “spark innovation in the chemical industry”. Since then, we have been making great strides in our efforts to achieve those goals. Our company, MWCC has been working with a wide range of businesses to deliver on that promise, and we are now poised for the next stage. Here are thoughts from the founders.
Chairman & CEO
Yoshino graduated from Keio University’s Faculty of Law in 1990 and received an MBA from UC Berkeley in 2002, where he was a Hitachi Fellow in the Management of Technology program. After working for Mitsui & Co.’s Chemical Department, he retired to pursue investing and consulting in the USA. In August 2007, he established Microwave Chemical Co., Ltd and became its Chairman & CEO, a position he currently holds.
Tsukahara received his PhD from Osaka University’s Graduate School of Science in 2003. He then joined the university’s Graduate School of Engineering as a specially appointed project researcher in 2004. He was named a specially appointed faculty member at the same school in 2006 and became an associate professor in 2018. He specializes in microwave chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and photochemistry.
Messages from Our Co-Founders
A new business model to achieve a global presence
The best way to instigate change is through business.
We all want to live in a world with fresh air and clean water. When we founded MWCC, we wanted to be a business that could make even a slight contribution toward this goal and set our sights on using microwaves as a technology to create biofuels from waste oil. However, repeated trial and error brought us instead to a business model offering new microwave-based manufacturing methods as a solution in and of itself. While the path we chose may have been difficult, our decisions have delivered successes in a wide range of applications and helped us create a unique microwave technology platform.
This novel technology helps businesses reduce energy consumption by 1/3, improve efficiency by 1/10, and reduce footprint by 1/5. In addition, we expect the use of electromagnetic waves in manufacturing to contribute significantly to carbon neutrality.
We are currently involved in various joint projects with chemical manufacturers.
There have been some ups and downs over the 15 years since our founding, but we now finally feel that our initial idea of creating a company that addresses energy issues and helps our environment is ready to take off. Moving forward, we are excited to have this business positively impact the world while seeing our vision come to life one project at a time.
Transforming a technology that had been thought unscalable into a global chemical manufacturing standard
The hardest obstacle was “first commercial production”. In order to leverage the microwave process in chemical industry, equipment was required to be larger in size.
Although, there was sufficient number of reports to verify the process in lab scale tests, it was believed that applying the technology in industry level was almost/near impossible. Therefore, in order to create a robust process befitting for the industry use, we decided to focus on the design- a reaction design i.e., which set of materials to be used for microwave reaction and a reactor design i.e., how to distribute microwaves within the reactor.
The chemical manufacturing world also places a special emphasis on safety, so in 2014, we created the world’s first microwave plant to prove that microwave processing is scalable safely. This plant meets the requirements of the Fire Service Act and is capable of processing 3,200 tons per year, finally gaining global recognition that microwave processing can be used in chemical manufacturing.
Our current technology platform was gradually established by working through the entire process, from research and development through engineering up to production technology. Microwave processing not only excels at saving energy, increasing efficiency, and saving space, it can also be combined with renewable energy sources to reduce CO2 emissions by over 90%, thereby helping address the global challenge of carbon neutrality.
We want this technology to be the global standard for the chemical industry and this dream is already well on the way to becoming reality.