Chemical Blog

Japanese firms to build pilot plant to produce algae-based jet and diesel fuels

Research group Euglena (Tokyo, Japan) and Chiyoda (Yokohama, Japan) have signed an engineering, procurement, and construction contract for Japan’s first pilot plant to produce renewable jet and diesel fuels based on microalgae. The partners say that the ¥5.8-billion ($51.2 million) facility at Yokohama, with completion planned for the end of October 2018, will pave the way to commercial production of the fuels, which are targeted for use in aviation and public road transportation, in the first half of 2019. 

Euglena announced a project in September to construct one of Japan's largest artificial cultivation systems, known as raceways, to produce fuel-use microalgae. The raceway and the pilot plant form part of the country's Made in Japan Biofuels Project. Other project promoters include the City of Yokohama, Chiyoda, Itochu Enex, Isuzu Motors, and All Nippon Airways. Euglena has secured land from Asahi Glass for the construction site and is in discussions with Itochu Enex to procure the feedstock. 

Euglena has been producing and marketing food and beverage products based on the single-celled organism euglena, since 2005. It was the first company to develop a technique to cultivate and farm the microorganism in large enough quantities to be commercially viable. Its main production facility is located on Ishigaki Island, near Okinawa.