Monday, May 21, 2012

No. 517: Collaboration between a Japanese research laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy for biofuel (May 21, 2012)

Business trend
Honda Research and Development, a subsidiary of Honda Motor, started a joint research with the Department of Energy of the U.S. to develop biofuel from nonfood steams and leaves of corn and cane pomace. Green Earth Institute that is a venture company originating from Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth will also participate in the joint project. The two Japanese organizations will ferment sugar using their self-developed gene-modified fungus to produce sugar through fermentation. The U.S. side will take care of the pretreatment process that begins with processing trees and plants and ends in extracting sugar. The U.S. side reckons that the Japanese technology will halve the price of bioethanol to 2.5 dollars. A gallon is about 3.8 liters.

When both sides successfully pave the way for practical application, the U.S. Department Energy will advertise for participating companies and incorporate the new technology into the production mechanism of bioethanol plants. The test production is scheduled for 2014, and the target for the practical application is in 2016. Finished product will be marketed inside the U.S. World bioethanol production in 2011 was about 26 billion gallons, most of which was consumed by vehicles. The U.S. plans to increase the production of biofuel made from nonfood to 16 billion gallons in 10 years. 

Honda’s Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) built for Brazil that runs either with ethanol or with the mixed fuel of gasoline and ethanol  

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