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viernes, 2 de junio de 2017

Euglena demonstration plant for renewable jet starts to become reality

Euglena is a Japanese company focused on researching, developing, producing and marketing algae. As suggested by its name, the company works mainly with a genus of single-celled flagellate Eukaryotes called Euglena. Currently, its revenues mostly come from cosmetics and health sectors. However, it expects great deal from biojet fuel business in the following years. The company intend to extract oils from euglena and refine into kerosene.

Figure 1. Euglena President (left) holding jet fuel made from euglena

On 19 May, Euglena announced an agreement with five partners to strength cooperation for the further promotion of its energy, environmental and healthcare business. The five partners are: Kobashi Kogyo (manufacturer and distributor of agricultural implements and their components), Chiyoda Corporation (integrated contractor, mainly to the hydrocarbon and chemical industries), API Corporation (manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients, intermediates and investigational new drugs), Isuzu Motors (manufacturer of commercial vehicles and diesel engines) and ITOCHU ENEX (energy sector). In this way, the Tokyo-based company allocates new shares to these companies, procuring 1.1 billion yen (almost $10 million) for the building of its demonstration biofuels plant, among other activities (see Chiyoda press release). All of them already cooperate with Euglena. For instance, Chiyoda has taken on designs of the demo plant and Isuzu is jointly conducting research on biodiesel fuel (DeuSEL project that aims to commercialize a next-generation biodiesel made from euglena).

In a December 1, 2015 press release, Euglena announced it will commercialize algae-based jet fuel by 2020. The plan was based on the construction of a demonstration facility due to come online by early 2018. Less than a year later, the company reported that the demonstration plant would not be operational until 1H 2019. According to this new press release of Chiyoda, the timeline will be the following: start of the construction works in June 2017, final completion in October 2018 and operational start in the first half of 2019. This would be the Japan’s first demonstration plant for renewable jet and fuels. With this alliance, companies hope to accelerate an initiative that contributes to a low carbon society.

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