Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. announced February 25, 2008, the start of construction of a pilot bioethanol manufacturing plant that uses livestock-grade rice as the feedstock, with a capacity of producing 1,000 kiloliters per year, after receiving an order from the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (JA Zen-Noh), at Kita Ward in Niigata City, eastern Japan. By adopting continuous ethanol fermentation technology in a partnership with Chematur Engineering AB, a Swedish-based chemical engineering company, the plant will also produce fertilizer and livestock feed from fermentation residues formed as byproducts. Completion of construction and the start of testing are planned for December 2008.
JA Zen-Noh began cultivating a high-yielding rice variety meant for animal consumption to utilize it for bioethanol production in fiscal 2005. In fiscal 2007, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries adopted the business as a demonstration project of local biofuel production for local consumption. The aim of the project is to demonstrate an integrated system capable of material rice cultivation, ethanol manufacturing, and sale of ethanol-mixed gasoline in Niigata Prefecture for five years.
The targets of the demonstration project are 2,250 tons of rice production per year, which is more than 800 kilograms per hectare; manufacture of 1,000 kiloliters of ethanol to be used for the manufacture and sale of 33,000 kiloliters of mixed gasoline with 3 percent ethanol (E3) content; the recycling of fermentation residues into livestock feed; and effective utilization of waste rice husks.
The project is expected to maintain farm land, water, and the environment of the area in good condition now and into the future, along with promoting sustainable paddy agriculture, especially effective utilization of fallow paddy fields, as well as paddy fields that are difficult to switch over to field crops.
source: Japan for Sustainability