Enabling Technology Project

Highly Efficient Production Process for Biomass-Based Chemicals and Polymers

Outline of the area

Yoshiharu Doi President, Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute
Yoshiharu Doi
President, Japan Synchrotron
Radiation Research Institute

To develop a new catalyst and a reacting process for effectively producing biomass-based chemicals and polymer materials from a carbon-neutral resource is an important science and technology issue for establishing a low carbon society. Actually, its research and development is aggressively promoted in various countries in this context. For practical use, there are various issues such as cost reduction of the biomass product, improvement of performance, reduction of the environmental load, and the like, in order to compete with the current petrochemical industry. Especially, it is strongly requested to create a well-designed energy-saved producing process with cost advantage and chemicals and polymer materials with high added-value.
In the present project, we aim at developing game-changing biomass conversion technologies such as highly added-value biomass-based chemicals, high-performance biomass-based polymer, high-efficiency and rapid synthesis catalysts and enzymes, and an environment-conscious process for target products.
On the basis of biomass-related technology which has previously accumulated in the ALCA contributes to the formation of a low carbon society, by stepping up the technology for practical use, and by developing innovative high-efficacy biomass converting process, while cooperating with other projects.


Success in developing a transparent resin with the best strength in the world

A synthesis of cinnamon-based bioplastic produced with a transgenic microorganism is succeeded and a transparent resin with the highest strength based on this was successfully developed.

Bioplastics are derived from regenerable organic resources (biomasses) such as plants, but they inherently have problems in mechanical strength, like being easy to break. So, its use is limited and is currently used only as disposable material.

Using a newly-developed transgenic microorganism, the research team has succeeded in producing amino cinnamic acid, a kind of cinnamon-based molecule from the biomass ingredient.

The bioplastic developed on this occasion was not only well-transparent equivalent to polycarbonate, a multipurpose transparent resin (87% of transparency: 400 nm in wavelength), but also has high mechanical strength of 407 MPa, which is 6 times higher than polycarbonate. Achieved mechanical strength means to be far more superior to glass mechanical strength (100 to 150 MPa), and is expected to partly replace the glass-based product. Since the heat resistant temperature of the developed bioplastic is about 250°C, it can be expected as an industrial material for a wide variety of uses. They can be expected for use especially in weight-saving transportation equipment such as automobiles and a new material for flexible panels, and it can be considered that the bioplastic can contribute to CO2 reduction in the atmosphere.

(From press statement of Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)


Development of Multifunctional Heterogeneous Catalysts

Michikazu Hara
Professor, MSL, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Based on cellulose-containing biomass, we are aiming at producing furan-based monomers such as 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and 2,5-bis (aminomethyl) furan (AMF) and the like through 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furaldehyde (HMF). By solving this science and technology problem, we can sustainably achieve engineering plastics and high added-value polymers without using fossil resources and the CO2 emission.

Development of multifunctional heterogeneous catalysts

Development of Isolating and Manufacturing Technology of Single-Cyclic Aromatics from Natural Polycyclic Aromatics

Takao Masuda
Professor, Hokkaido University

By separating cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin constituting woody based and grass plant based biomasses and by developing technology converting each component centered on lignin into useful chemical substances, it can lead to the development of a system for creating all resources of biomasses.

Development of isolating and manufacturing technology of single-cyclic aromatics from natural polycyclic aromatics

Lignocellusic Biorefinery Using Ionic Liquids

Kenji Takahashi
Professor, Kanazawa University

The follwoings are required for the lignocellulosic biomass pretreatment methods.
· Applicable to all biomass, independent of crops
· Hemicellulose is not lost by pretreatment
· Lignin structure is not damaged in pretreatment
In this research, we achieve the above goal using ionic liquid which can dissolve biomass. We will also build a process that will enable the recycling of ionic liquids.

Lignocellusic Biorefinery  using Ionic Liquids

Generation of Super-Engineering Plastics Using Microbial Biomass

Tatsuo Kaneko
Professor, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

A fermentation system of microorganism, which produces 4-aminocinnamic acids having the ideal structure as materials of super engineering plastics in large amounts, is established and the super engineering bioplastics which are compatible with the metal substituting materials are developed. Further, a method of recycling with biodegradation for stocking carbon as carbon dioxide in the material system over the long term is developed, and creation of new concept of “carbon minus material”, which is a game changer for carbon neutral, is conducted.

Generation of super-engineering plastics using microbial biomass