Major automobile biomass innovation research group established

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

The Research Association believes 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, according to the Research Association.

It noted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed the effectiveness of these options.

Nevertheless, the Research Association emphasised it is “essential” to clarify the issues and find a solution regarding CO2 emission reduction and social implementation throughout the manufacturing process, in addition to raw material procurement for any of these fuels.

The 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.

The group has four specific research areas.

The first is research on efficient ethanol production systems. The Research Association will design, install and operate production facilities, and identify issues with production, research solutions and study ways to improve the efficiency of production systems.

The second is research on byproduct oxygen, CO2 capture and utilisation. It 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.

Its third research area is on the efficient operation of the overall system, including fuel utilisation. The Research Association will investigate the issues involved with using bioethanol fuel obtained in 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.

The fourth main research area is on efficient raw material crop cultivation methods. It 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.

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