Kuraray Co., Ltd.

 Kuraray Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Hitoshi Kawahara; hereinafter “Kuraray” or the “Company”) hereby announces that it was awarded the 55th Ichimura Prize in Industry for Excellent Achievement in recognition of its development of the GL module, a hollow-fiber membrane module for treating highly turbid water with superior water permeability for efficient reuse of wastewater.
 This technology efficiently treats highly turbid water, thereby making water resources more secure and improving water recycling yields, which, in turn, contributes to the effective utilization of water resources for industry in general. The GL module earned another award, after receiving the Technology Special Award under the 54th Japan Chemical Industry Association (JCIA) Technology Awards last year.

1.Overview of the GL Module

GL module units installed at Kuraray’s Kurashiki Plant
GL module
GL module

 The GL module is a hollow-fiber membrane module that enables the efficient reuse of wastewater due to its superior water permeability as well as its robust ability to treat highly turbid water. Compared to Kuraray’s conventional products, the GL module achieves water permeability approximately five times higher and can be used to treat water that’s ten times more turbid.
 Conventional wastewater treatment processes require pretreatment systems with membrane filtration. However, the use of the GL module eliminates the need for such pretreatment, thereby simplifying the entire wastewater treatment process and allowing for more efficient reuse of water.
 The superior water permeability exerted by the GL module is thanks to proprietary technology. Kuraray has developed, including the manufacturing of microporous hollow-fiber membranes through the combination of non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) and thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) methods. The product’s powerful ability to treat highly turbid water is due to its unique “one-end free structure” and its “center distributor.” “One-end free structure” means each hollow fiber membrane is sealed individually at the bottom with resin, allowing one end to move freely. The “center distributor” contributes to the sufficient cleaning of the area that accumulates the matter from the turbid water in the hollow fiber membrane module.

2.Main Contributions

 In recent years, a growing number of businesses have been taking on water recovery and reuse as part of their initiatives to counter water depletion problems and enhance their sustainability efforts by addressing water shortages The GL module has been used for applications such as the reuse of wastewater in the electronics and food industries, contributing to more effective utilization of water resources. In addition, it’s recognized for its effectiveness in reducing water treatment costs by simplifying the water treatment process for drinking water and industrial water. Consequently, its uses are now expanding into an even broader range of fields. In the future, Kuraray expects the GL module to continue contributing to the resolution of issues society faces, such as global water shortages and water pollution.


・Recovery and reuse of wastewater
・Purification of groundwater, river water and other water sources for drinking and industrial water
・Removal of bacteria and turbidity from water to be used for the manufacturing of food and the cleansing of precision parts
・Pretreatment for and the removal of turbidity before water treatment using reverse osmosis (RO) membranes
・Recovery and condensation of abrasive agents and other valuable substances used in the manufacturing process

4.About the Ichimura Prize in Industry

 Sponsored by the Ichimura Foundation for New Technology, the Ichimura Prize in Industry commends technology developers and business managers of superior technology in Japan who have contributed significantly to the development of industrial fields and technology. For the 55th Ichimura Prize in Industry, three Excellent Achievement prizes and three Distinguished Achievement prizes were given out.