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).