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Comment Processing & Handling

Bioethanol from bagasse

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Tsukishima Kikai Co. (www.tsk-g.co.jp) and JFE Engineering Corp. (both Tokyo, Japan; www.jfe-eng.co.jp) have demonstrated a process that produces bioethanol from bagasse, a waste product in the production of sugar from sugarcane. With support from NEDO under a four-year, $10-million project, the companies constructed a plant in Saraburi, Thailand, that is capable of processing 1,300 ton/yr of bagasse into 100,000 L/yr of ethanol. A key feature of the facility is that the enzymes used for breaking down the bagasse into fermentable sugars — Acremonium cellulolyticus C-1 — is produced on site, which considerably reduces enzyme costs (by one fifth). Normally, commercial supply of enzymes accounts for 25–50% of the production costs of a cellulosic ethanol plant. Tsukishima Kikai and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; Tsukuba City, Japan; www.aist.go.jp) developed the process for producing the enzyme with bacteria cultures. Although 60–80% of the bagasse supply has been used by sugar plants as boiler fuel, the remaining bagasse has typically been disposed of as excess stock without being used effectively. The NEDO project demonstrates the effectiveness of the on-site enzyme-production technology…
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