June 21, 2023
Nippon Steel Engineering Co., Ltd.
Nippon Steel Engineering Co., Ltd. (Representative Director and President: Yukito Ishiwa; Head Office: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo; hereinafter "NSE") has started construction of a second-generation bioethanol production※1 facility (scheduled to start operation in October 2024) commissioned by the Research Association of Biomass Innovation for Next Generation Automobile Fuels※2 (Chairman of the Board: Koichi Nakata, Headquarters: Town of Okuma, Futaba County, Fukushima Prefecture; hereinafter "the Research Association").
The Research Association seeks to achieve a carbon-neutral society through research on the use of biomass and the efficient production of bioethanol fuel for automobiles by optimizing the circulation of hydrogen, oxygen, and CO2 during bioethanol production. Bioethanol fuel is a promising option for achieving a carbon-neutral society, but most bioethanol fuel is based on "first-generation" production technologies that produce ethanol directly from sugar and starch using edible biomass such as corn and sugarcane as feedstocks. However, "second-generation" production technologies that use non-edible biomass such as agricultural residue and inedible plants as feedstocks are required to spread in order to avoid competition with food production and to ensure stable procurement.
NSE has jointly developed and optimized a second-generation bioethanol production process with an automobile company※3 and a consumer goods and chemicals manufacturer※4. NSE has also been commissioned to conduct a project to substantiate non-edible biomass production in the Philippines, and NSE has acquired a variety of knowledge through construction and operation of that facility. In addition, NSE has been studying technologies to utilize high levels of CO2 from biomass and process residues such as lignin generated in the fermentation process. This knowledge and these technologies have been highly praised, leading to commissioned design, procurement, and construction of a facility for integrated second-generation bioethanol production.
NSE will continue to enhance our efforts to achieve a sustainable carbon-neutral society and to promote the spread and increase the use of renewable energy.
The efforts in ※3 and ※4 are expected to increase the yield of bioethanol and reduce its production cost.
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