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  • Greetings

    Sugarcane Trash (ST) is an excellent and underused biomass resource in sugar-producing countries worldwide. It consists approx. 15% of the total above ground biomass at harvest which is equivalent to about 10-15 tons per hectare of dry matter. However, only a small quantity of ST is used as fuels, mixed with bagasse or by itself, at the sugar mill. The rest is burned in the vicinity of the dry cleaning installation, creating a pollution problem in sugar-producing nations. Utilization of ST as a promising raw material in biorefinery is explored based on zero-waste and multi-product concept with multi-disciplinary technologies to transform the existing sugar industry to biorefineries.

    This project team consists of experts from Japan (Kyoto University (KU)), Thailand (NSTDA, Chiang Mai University (CMU)), Indonesia (LIPI), and Laos (National University of Laos (NUOL)). KU team is specialized on microwave-assisted pretreatment and hydrolytic systems for biorefinery, characterization of enzyme structure function and conversion process, metabolic flux analysis of cell factories, and social LCA. NSTDA team is specialized on lignocellulose degrading enzymes, design of yeast cell factory by synthetic biology, and development of bioprocess for cellulosic substrates, chemical processing of cellulosic wastes to fuels and chemicals, process design for biomass pretreatment/fractionation, transformation, and catalytic conversion, hydrothermal processing of biomass, and lactic acid fermentation. CMU team will study lactic acid production. LIPI team has expertise in the fractionation of biomass, developing lignocellulose degrading enzymes and construction of yeast strain for fermentation of glucose and xylose, amphipathic lignin-based polymers. NUOL team will study lignocellulose pretreatment using physicochemical methods for bioethanol production and on biogas production process. We expect that the multi-lateral collaboration research will develop a process for integrated utilization of ST which can be applicable to the existing sugar industry in Southeast Asia (SEA) and Japan. Throughout the project, we also hope that the research will contribute to fostering of young students and researchers.

    Project leader
    Takashi Watanabe