Kawasaki to Lead National Bioethanol Model Demonstration Project

Nov. 18, 2008


Tokyo, November 18, 2008 — Kawasaki Plant Systems, Ltd. announced today that it has been named a contractor for a national bioethanol demonstration project. The project will be conducted jointly with Akita Agriculture Public Corporation as part of an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) to establish an energy technology utilizing soft cellulose.

The demonstration project aims to establish a technology for the production of bioethanol from untapped soft cellulose biomass, such as rice straw and husk, that will not compete with food production. The MAFF-supported project entails a comprehensive demonstration process that includes the collection and transportation of soft cellulose biomass, the production of soft cellulose-derived bioethanol, and biomass fuel vehicle test driving. Kawasaki will conduct the biofuel production demonstration and driving tests with the support of the Akita Prefectural Government. Akita Agriculture Public Corporation will take charge of the collection and transportation tests using rice straw produced in the Oogata area of Akita Prefecture. The demonstration project will run from 2008 through 2012.

Kawasaki’s biofuel production system consists of preprocessing, saccharification, fermentation, and distillation processes. The saccharification process will employ an advanced bioethanol production technology along with a thermal system that Kawasaki is now jointly developing with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). This brand new technique utilizes heated water instead of sulfuric acid for the saccharification of cellulose.

Since this new technology does not require the separation, recovery and fixing processes employed in conventional sulfuric acid systems, it reduces costs by eliminating the need for reactor anticorrosion treatments and a sulfuric acid recovery system.