Euglena is used to produce biofuels such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), biodiesel fuel, and bionaphtha by adding fats and oils extracted from the microalgae Euglena to used cooking oil. Biofuels are being produced at a biofuel manufacturing demonstration plant in Yokohama City. The plant is scheduled to close by the end of January 2024, and the company plans to move forward with preparations for mass production and commercialization of biofuel. We are currently considering building a manufacturing plant in Malaysia in collaboration with Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) of Malaysia and Eni of Italy.
The biofuel production demonstration plant was completed in October 2018 with an investment of approximately 5.8 billion yen, including subsidies from Kanagawa Prefecture and Yokohama City. The site is approximately 7,800 square meters in area and consists of (1) an office building, (2) a reactor building, (3) utility equipment, (4) storage tanks, and (5) a shipping area. As it is a demonstration experiment facility, it is not operated year-round, but operates five times a year, with one term being a three-week period from the middle of odd-numbered months to the beginning of even-numbered months, excluding July and August. The biofuel production demonstration plant can produce approximately 125kL of biofuel per year. In the biofuel production demonstration plant, Euglena-derived fats and oils are added to used cooking oil, etc., and are subjected to (1) pretreatment, (2) hydrothermal cyclization treatment, (3) hydrogenation treatment, and (4) distillation. By doing this, the biofuel “Susuteo” is produced. This product has passed the conformity test of ASTM D7566 Annex 6, the international standard for biojet fuel. “Industrial waste oil and Euglena-derived fats and oils that are used as raw materials contain oxygen, but there are rumors that oxygen has a negative effect on engines.At our biofuel production demonstration plant, oxygen is removed through a process called hydrogenation. “We can produce highly pure biofuel,” says Kusatsugu, deputy plant manager.
If construction of a biofuel production plant in Malaysia is realized, it is scheduled to be completed in 2025, and operations will begin as soon as the system is in place. The facility will produce SAF and biodiesel fuel, and is expected to have a fuel production capacity of approximately 725,000 kL per year. The biofuel production plant in Malaysia plans to use technology certified to ASTM D7566 Annex 2.