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Taiheiyo Cement finalises contract for collaborative research

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World Cement,

Taiheiyo Cement Corporation has finalised a contract for collaborative research with the Fukushima Future Centre for Regional Revitalisation of Fukushima University and commenced research using Minamisoma City as a case study.

The objective of the project is to promote research into preserving and utilising agricultural land damaged by the 2011 Earthquake Disaster and to respond to the need for regional revitalisation and agricultural recovery through recovering agricultural land by cultivating energy crops and converting them into energy.

The preservation and usage of underutilised agricultural land and the revitalisation of regional agriculture will be promoted through two approaches:

  1. Using Taiheiyo Cement’s biomass-related technologies to cultivate sorghum and other energy crops in abandoned farmland and generating electricity by fermenting them to produce methane.
  2. Producing cooking oil and biodiesel fuel through the cultivation of rape blossoms and other oil-bearing crops.

An economy of scale provided by 500-1000 ha is necessary in order to ensure profitability through business development specialised to the production of energy crops, which makes the introduction of such technology unlikely in Japan at present.

The current research aims for efficient and integrated land-use by a combination of the following:

  • Selection of energy crops suited to the climate of Minamisoma City
  • Maximisation of yield per unit area by a double-cropping system of rape blossoms and other oilbearing crops
  • Usage of methane fermentation residue as a liquid fertiliser

Taiheiyo Cement anticipates this will enable commercialisation at a smaller scale by diversification of the revenue structure while exploring business development grounded in the ecology and society of each region.

The company will also investigate business development such as local energy supply through biogas generation using methane fermented from energy crops in the future.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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