Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) announced on January 31, 2008, that it has started a project to develop and demonstrate the production of biomass ethanol fuel made from various plants in small- and medium-sized facilities. The project will run for about three-and-a-half years, from December 2007 to March 2011, with the aim of establishing an integrated technology to manufacture ethanol fuel from a wide variety of cellulosic biomass resources without competing for food resources.
The project's goal is to design and develop the best process to manufacture ethanol fuel by combining AIST's own existing technologies -- such as its low-energy pretreatment technique as well as saccharification and fermentation techniques -- with other existing technologies. Because conventional sulfuric acid methods involve issues such as ethanol yield and wastewater treatment, the institute intends to develop highly efficient, low-cost production techniques with low environmental impacts by adopting a non-sulfuric acid method, and thereby to assess the economic efficiency and life cycle impacts of the manufacturing system.
The first test facility, which is a batch plant to produce 60 liters of ethanol out of 200 kilograms of cellulosic biomass materials, will be built in the Biomass Technology Research Center (AIST Chugoku in Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture) in fiscal 2008. The resulting performance data will be used to design and construct a second, larger test plant starting from fiscal 2009. Through the operation of the second plant, the institute aims to test a commercial facility after fiscal 2011 in collaboration with private businesses that operate this type of plant.
- Researchers Aim for Bioethanol Production from Waste Paper (Related JFS article)
- RITE and Honda Develop Bio-Ethanol Production Technology (Related JFS article)
- Ethanol Produced from Inedible Materials by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. (Related JFS article)
- Kirin Brewery to Build Test Plant to Make Bioethanol (Related JFS article)
- Japan Planning Expansion of Domestic Biomass Fuel Production (Related JFS article)