Auto giants establish biomass innovation research association

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ENEOS Corporation, Suzuki Motor Corporation, Subaru Corporation, Daihatsu Motor Company, Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Tsusho Corporation established the Research Association of Biomass Innovation for Next Generation Automobile Fuels on July 1, 2022, to study ways to optimise the process of producing fuel.

It is crucial to provide diverse energy options to meet the needs of many different regions and customers in order to achieve carbon neutrality. Hydrogen and synthetic fuels based on electricity from renewable energy sources, as well as bioethanol fuel able to reduce CO2 emissions through photosynthesis in plants are promising options, and their effectiveness has been confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, it is essential to clarify the issues and search for a solution regarding CO2 emission reduction and social implementation throughout the manufacturing process, in addition to raw material procurement for any of these fuels.

This research association promotes technological research on the use of biomass, as well as the efficient production of bioethanol fuel for automobiles through the optimised circulation of hydrogen, oxygen, and CO2 during production to achieve a carbon-neutral society. Specific research areas are as follows.

(1) Research on efficient ethanol production systems
With the aim of improving production technology for second-generation bioethanol fuel that does not compete with food, the research association will design, install, and operate production facilities, identify issues with production, research solutions, and study ways to improve the efficiency of production systems.

(2) Research on byproduct oxygen, CO2 capture, and utilisation
The research association will study how to use the high concentration of oxygen generated as a byproduct during hydrogen production, as well as the CO2 generated during bioethanol fuel production.

(3) Research on the efficient operation of the overall System, including fuel utilisation
The research association will investigate the issues involved with using bioethanol fuel obtained into automobiles and other vehicles and explore solutions. It will also study model formulas that can make predictions of both raw material cultivation production volumes and fuel production volumes.

(4) Research on efficient raw material crop cultivation methods
The research organisation will develop a system that proposes optimal cultivation methods for maximising yield and optimising crop components to secure raw materials for bioethanol fuels. It will aim to improve the accuracy of crop yield productions through soil composition surveys and other methods.