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Nippon Paper, Sumitomo and Green Earth to study commercial cellulosic bioethanol project; feedstock for SAF

Nippon Paper Industries, Sumitomo and Green Earth Institute agreed to begin trilateral consideration of the first commercial production of cellulosic bioethanol from woody biomass in Japan and its development into bio-chemical products.

Bioethanol is currently attracting attention as a renewable energy source and as feedstock for biofuels such as SAF and chemicals with low environmental impact. Cellulosic ethanol made from woody biomass is classified as second-generation ethanol and has the potential to resolve various problems in Japan, a country with abundant forest resources, by allowing it to utilize its domestic forest resources to ensure its energy security and energy self-sufficiency.

Accordingly, the three companies will be studying the possibility of starting production of several tens of thousands of kiloliters per year of bioethanol derived from domestic timber at Nippon Paper’s mills in fiscal 2027.

The bioethanol produced will be mainly used as feedstock for domestically produced SAF, etc., while at the same time consideration will be given to carbon recycling initiatives such as CCU (Carbon Capture and Utilization) using carbon-neutral CO2 generated collaterally during bioethanol production and effective utilization of residues from the fermentation process.

Nippon Paper will accelerate its market entry into the bio-chemical field as a “comprehensive biomass company shaping the future with trees” by quickly establishing mass production technology and a full-scale supply system for wood-based bioethanol of several tens of thousands of kiloliters, utilizing the pulp and paper manufacturing technology it has cultivated over the years.

Sumitomo Corporation will contribute to this study by consolidating the knowledge and skills of the Sumitomo Corporation Group acquired through various businesses, including the development and deployment of carbon-free energy using hydrogen, ammonia, and next-generation biomass raw fuel gas, and by promoting the use of green chemicals to construct a circular economy.

GEI will utilize the biorefinery technology it has cultivated to date to establish a commercial production plant for the bioethanol from non-edible biomass of several tens of thousands of kiloliters, a capacity not currently available domestically, and thereby promote the social implementation of bio-manufacturing in Japan.


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