15 September 2011

From Rice Husks to Valuable Chemical Products for the Future

New wet combustion technology to convert waste organic materials

Science System Corporation Shion Inc. has developed wet combustion technology to convert waste organic materials, particularly rice husks, to hydrogen and other value-added materials using water in a novel hexagonal batch reactor.

The Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), an Institute of The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), is collaborating with Shion Pte Ltd (Shion), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s Science System Corporation Shion Inc., in a 18-month project to further develop wet combustion technology invented by Science System Corporation Shion Inc. The research collaboration agreement was signed today by Dr. Keith Carpenter, Executive Director, ICES and Ms. Fuki Kashihara, Executive Director and CEO, Shion.

Science System Corporation Shion Inc. has developed wet combustion technology to convert waste organic materials, particularly rice husks, to hydrogen and other value-added materials using water in a novel hexagonal batch reactor. Products such as pyroligneous acid (wood vinegar) could be used in the building, chemical, medical or agricultural sectors. In this collaboration, ICES will assist Shion in developing a continuous process of their technology. Both parties will also investigate the best mix of products to make for maximum economic value. The process will be run continuously for a significant period of time to demonstrate its technical viability and robustness for mass production.

At present, fossil feedstocks are the main source of chemical production. With current concerns over the supply and increasing cost of fossil resources, uncertainties over security of energy supplies and the effect of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, alternative processes utilising renewable resources are the focus of many research groups around the world. This technology could offer a sustainable process to convert waste materials to valuable products such as hydrogen and also limit the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Dr. Keith Carpenter commented, “Singapore takes the issues of sustainability and security of supply of fuels and chemicals very seriously. We are heavily dependent on fossil fuels, as are many countries, and diversifying towards more sustainable resources is an important global issue, not only for Singapore but for many countries. We are happy to work with Shion in this project and believe that this collaboration will be one of the ways to tackle the challenges facing society today.”

Ms. Fuki Kashihara commented, “We established our company, with an understanding that there is a need for sustainable and constructive society. To achieve this, we have been working in Japan with like-minded top engineers in research and development. However, to carry out world class research and to deliver our technology worldwide, we decided to collaborate with ICES whom we consider to be the best partner. ICES has the necessary expertise and capabilities in process engineering and chemistry to assist us to further develop our technology. We hope our collaboration creates new value and future growth opportunities for Singapore and worldwide.”

Source: Innovations-Report, 2011-09-15.

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