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Recover chemicals from sugarcane bagasse using the half the energy

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Last month, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO; Kawasaki, Japan; www.nedo.go.jp) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Innovation Agency (NIA; Bangkok, Thailand; www.nai.or.th) to work jointly on a project to demonstrate a manufacturing system to produce chemicals that can be converted into raw materials for bioethanol and high value-added products from the fibrous waste material (bagasse) remaining after sugarcane has been squeezed. The project will utilize a polymer membrane technology (diagram) developed in Japan, and aims to achieve more than 50% reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional distillation techniques. This is the first attempt to apply Japan’s polymer membrane technology in the biomass field in Thailand. The project will demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology in a pilot plant that can process 5,000 ton/yr of dried bagasse into 1,400 ton/yr of cellulosic sugars (glucose/xylose), which will produce 700,000 L/yr of bioethanol when converted. The project, which includes planned contractors Toray Industries, Inc., Mitsui Sugar Co. and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., will run through 2022.
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