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New Process for Bamboo Ethanol

Manichi Daily News. Researchers at Shizuoka University in Japan have developed a new process enabling the more efficient use of bamboo—a fast-growing woody grass—as a feedstock for fermentative cellulosic ethanol production.

The team, led by biochemical engineering professor Kiyohiko Nakasaki, has developed a method of rendering bamboo into an ultra-fine powder; which, at 50 micrometers, is 10 times finer than that produced by previous methods....The method is a combination of various techniques, including removing lignin—the second-largest component of plant cells—using lasers, and a more efficient biodegrading process.

With the new method, cellulose can be converted into glucose at an efficiency of 75 percent. The team is aiming to raise that figure to 80 percent in three years, and lower production costs to around 100 yen per liter.

The researchers estimate that there is about 93 million tons of bamboo in Japan. Harvesting at a rate of 3.3 million tons per year would be sustainable, they say, and deliver about 10% of Japan’s 2030 target of 2.2 million kiloliters of ethanol (58 million gallons US out of a target of 581 million gallons US).



I think all these different methods are good and all can contribute to big reductions in the use of fossil fuels.
Bring them on.
I say CAN CONTRIBUTE though, because there is some risk these consume too much government grant money for their return.
"Harvesting at a rate of 3.3 million tons per year would be sustainable, they say, and deliver about 10% of Japan’s 2030 target ...".
If the target is that 25% of Japan’s fuel is to be 50% bioethanol, then 10% of 25% of 50% means bamboo could represent up to only 1.3% of Japans petroleum needs.


1 kiloliter is about 250 us gallons so the text should have said (580 million gallons US out of a target of 5810 million gallons US) which also make more sense for a large country like Japan and a 2030 target.


Sorry it is right as it is I am just a little tired I guess.


There is still some error because 3.3 million tons of bamboo is about 3.3 million kiloliter and that should yield about 2.2 million kiloliter of ethanol? Right, because this is about the conversion rate for corn ethanol. But the text says the 2.2 is the target for Japan and also only 10% of the target. So there is an inconsistency. If the target is 22 million kiloliter ethanol it makes sense.


Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems that bamboo forests produce about 0.33 tonnes of dry bambou per year per hectar and a mature bambou forest produces about 17 to 18 tonnes/hectar.

Note: the 0.33 dry tonne/year/hectar seems to be low but that's what India is saying.

One tonne of dry bamboo produces about 160 gallons (or about 600 liters) of ethanol.

This would give about 53 gallons (or about 200 liters) of ethanol per hectar per year.

Note: That also seems to be too low?

A yearly production of 3.3 million tonnes of dry bamboo would produce only 1980 million liters of ethanol. It is not very much for Japan's large fleet.

Peace Hugger

Processing bamboo into wood to make furnitures and houses might make better economics.

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