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Making bio-ethanol from cassava pulp

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Sapporo Holdings Ltd. (SHL; Tokyo, Japan; www.sapporoholdings.jp) and Innotech Green Energy Company Ltd. (IGE) in Thailand are collaborating on a project to achieve the world’s first practical fermentation process to make ethanol from cassava pulp. The two companies have completed studies on an 80,000-L/yr pilot demonstration plant, which was part of a project funded by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Org. (NEDO, Kawasaki City, Japan; www.nedo.go.jp) that began in 2014. The next step will be the design and construction of a plant with a capacity of 60 million L/yr of ethanol. IGE has begun a feasibility study, based on the results of the pilot project. Cassava pulp is a waste product generated during the extraction of starch from cassava in the production of tapioca. In Thailand, it is estimated that 2 million tons of cassava pulp waste were generated in 2012, which corresponds to 656 million L of bio-ethanol if the new technology is used. Because of its high fiber content, it has not been possible to utilize cassava pulp as a raw material. A new heat-tolerant yeast, developed by SHL and Iwata Chemical Co., Ltd., makes it feasible to ferment the pulp (for more details, see Chem. Eng., June 2014, p. 12; www.chemengonline.com/this-demonstration-plant-makes-bioethanol-from-tapioca-residue).
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