6 Dezember 2004

New Japanese technology to produce ethanol

A Japanese scientist has unveiled the latest technology to produce ethanol and bio-diesel to help replace the use of fossil fuels in the near future.

The new technology aims to extract fuel from biochemical substances found in wood, Prof. Dr. Shiro Saka of Kyoto University’s Department of Socio-environment Energy Science told an international meeting on “Energy and sustainable environment” in Thailand’s southern beach resort of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province on Thursday.

Prof. Dr. Saka told more than 300 international energy experts that his department was studying how to extract lignocelluloses – a biochemical substance found in wood which can be used to produce ethanol.The research project also plans to study commercial methods of producing the substance.

If the project succeeds, Japan should be able to produce more than eight billion litres of high grade ethanol a year. New technology, known as “catalyst-free method” can also produce bio-diesel, by turning used vegetables or animal oil into bio-diesel fuel, Prof. Dr. Saka also told the meeting.

Japan has stepped up its efforts to find alternative fuels to replace carbon-based fossil fuel to help reduce the green house effects caused by the emission of gases from burning of fossil fuel. According to the Kyoto Pact, industrial countries in the European Union (EU) and Japan must reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 6% by 2010.

“Currently, the Japanese government has tested the use of E3, ethanol mixed with benzene in the ratio of 3 in 100. Further studies are aimed at increasing the ethanol mixture to 10%,” Prof. Dr. Saka said. However, the E10 will have to wait until the year 2020 when automobile manufacturers alter their engines and make them compatible with E10.

Source: New Uses Council, 2004-12-03.

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