The Fisheries Research Agency of Japan announced on March 25, 2008, that it has confirmed for the first time, in cooperation with Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology and others, just how much bioethanol could be produced per unit weight of seaweed and water plants. The percent yield (of dry weight) shown by the research team was 10 percent for sea lettuce and 16 percent for water hyacinth, respectively.
The agency and related organizations started the study on new technologies to produce ethanol from seaweed and water plants in fiscal 2007, funded by the Japanese Fisheries Agency under the project of developing technology for utilizing marine biomass as a new energy resource. Based on the study, a research team led by Professor Naoto Urano of the university and Motoharu Uchida, a senior researcher of the agency, confirmed the yield of ethanol per unit weight of seaweed and water plants when being produced through fermentation.
With the world's sixth largest economic sea zone despite its small land area, there are great expectations in Japan on the development of technology to produce ethanol from marine resources. The key will be to improve yields.
- Japanese Researchers Identify Gene that Boosts Plant Photosynthesis (Related JFS article)