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Utilization of "Erianthus" crops for regional fuel self-sufficiency

Updated:September 13, 2017 (Wednesday)

- Commercialization model from research to practical application -


A continuous collaboration of NARO with Sakura City, Tochigi Prefecture and the Takano Co., Ltd. led to the successful commercialization of regional self-sufficiency fuel. In this project, the Takano Co., Ltd. facilitated the cultivation and processing into fuel of the bioenergy crop "Erianthus" jointly developed by NARO and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS). This biofuel was then used in boilers of hot spring facility in Sakura City, Tochigi Prefecture. Erianthus can be cultivated in non-snowy areas ranging from low altitude southern Tohoku region and extending to the Kyushu region.

Overview

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, biofuels made from bioenergy crops are expected to be used as one of renewable energy sources. In collaboration with the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), NARO focused on the perennial grass "Erianthus" as a crop for biofuel jointly developed the variety "JES1" in 2013. It is suitable as biofuel because it does not compete with food production and can be cultivated with high yield and low cost.

The Takano Co., Ltd. in Sakura City, Tochigi Prefecture used this Erianthus "JES1" variety for cultivation in the city's abandoned farmlands, processed them into pellet fuel, and developed the mechanism for utilization in hot spring facilities, with NARO and JIRCAS providing technical support from 2014. A full-scale operation was begun from April 2017 and confirmed that local self-sufficiency of fuel has been achieved so far. The utilization of this biofuel led to reduction of abandoned farmlands in Sakura City, and contributed to creation of jobs and mitigation of global warming.

This is the world's first case of "Erianthus" commercialization as a regional self-sufficiency fuel, and it will be useful as a small scale model in non-snowy areas ranging from low altitude southern Tohoku region and extending to the Kyushu region.

For Inquiry

Dr. Shigeru SHIOYA
Director-General, Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, NARO (NILGS)

Mr. Makoto KOBAYASHI
Forage Crop Breeding Unit, Division of Forage Crop Research, NILGS

Dr. Hiromi KIMOTO
Communications Planner, NILGS

Contact: http://www.naro.affrc.go.jp/english/inquiry/index.html

Corporate Number 7050005005207