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euglena planning commercial production of biojet and renewable diesel from algae in Japan

Japan-based euglena Co. plans to produce and supply biojet and renewable diesel in Japan at commercial scale in the 2020s with support from the City of Yokohama, Chiyoda Corporation, Itochu Enex Co., Isuzu Motors and All Nippon Airways (ANA). The company will build Japan’s first demonstration plant for the production of biojet/biodiesel fuels in Yokohama, with operations planned to begin in 2018.

The company has been investigating the production of biojet from the microalgae Euglena since May 2010 (earlier post) and has also partnered with Isuzu in research on next-generation (i.e. drop-in hydrocarbon) renewable diesel production from Euglena since June 2014. In June 2015, the company signed a Technology License Agreement for the ISOCONVERSION process with Chevron Lummus Global and Applied Research Associates (ARA). (Earlier post.)

The demonstration plant is planned to be built on the site of the Keihin Plant of Asahi Glass Company, located in the Yokohama sea-side area. Construction is estimated to start in summer 2016 and to be completed by the end of 2017, with the planned start of operations in the first half of 2018.

Chiyoda is the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) company for the plant. Itochu Enex will supply fuel feedstock other than the microalgae. Isuzu will evaluate the renewable diesel, and ANA will evaluate the biojet.

The plant will produce ASTM-compliant biojet fuel, renewable diesel and bionaphtha from domestically-produced/-procured feedstock at a rate of about 5 barrels per day, or 125 kiloliters per year (33,000 gallons US).

With the knowledge and information obtained by the operation of the demonstration plant, euglena aims to set up a new program to construct a commercial plant in the 2020s.

In 2012, Chevron Lummus Global (CLG), a 50-50 joint venture between Chevron Products Company and Lummus Technology, joined ARA’s ReadiJet Alternative Fuel Initiative to develop drop-in biofuels. ARA has developed a catalytic hydrothermolysis (CH) process to convert triglycerides (e.g., crop oils and animal fats) to non-ester biofuels—renewable fuels that are pure hydrocarbons indistinguishable from their petroleum counterparts. (Earlier post.)

The joint development effort combines ARA’s CH PROCESS technology with Chevron Lummus Global’s ISOCONVERSION process technology to create drop-in biofuels that will be ready to use in jet and diesel engines, eliminating the need for blending with petroleum.



125,000 litres on 9000 square meters (=0.9 ha) per year !

That's enormous


Never mind that euglena are not real algae, but flagellate phagocytes -- more animal than plant. Very clever. They can not only avoid light issues in the synthesis of carbohydrates, but also feed on and coexist with true algae Not all algae can coexist in confined spaces), that are far more adapted to photosynthesis.

What took so long to make news of this (real work was done in the 00's)?

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