We humans depend on carbon immobilized by photosynthesis for most of our food, energy, and materials. By inventing agriculture, humankind has transformed from a hunting society to a farming society and has made it possible to obtain a large amount of food. However, modern society is a hunting carbon society where energy and material production depend on fossil resources. As a result, carbon dioxide generated by combustion causes global warming, and a large amount of plastic pollutes the earth, causing global environmental problems. For this reason, energy and material production are also required to evolve into a cultivated society. Considering the energy and material circulation in Japanese society in 2050 based on the "Green Growth Strategy for 2050 Carbon Neutral" announced by the Japanese government in 2020, energy cultivation without carbon such as solar power, wind power, and hydroelectric power generation is expected. However, since fuels for transportation machinery such as aircraft and ships and materials such as plastics will continue to depend on carbon, carbon circulation by carbon cultivation using biomass is indispensable. Also, carbon cultivation is the only way to recover a large amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. To realize a carbon cycle society based on carbon cultivation, it is necessary to carry out bio-economy research and development that comprehensively addresses biomass production/conversion technology and waste utilization.
We will contribute to zero emissions by producing energy through carbon cultivation and storing carbon as a material. In addition, since the ocean has a vast area and is the frontier of carbon cultivation, carbon cultivation using algae is performed. Furthermore, by advancing the development of biomass-derived materials, we will protect the ocean from pollution. Biomass cultivation is often accompanied by environmental destruction due to the expansion of cultivated land and the impact on soil. Competition with food production is also a significant issue. Crops are evolving optimally as food for humankind. In other words, it contains the nutrients that animals need and can be stored for a certain period. However, these crops are not suitable for carbon cultivation. We will overcome these challenges by developing and commercializing crops suitable for sustainable carbon cultivation and utilizing energy and material production residues effectively. Furthermore, we will tackle the recovery and utilization of difficult-to-use biomass resources as an essential issue.
It is also a fact that it is difficult for energy and materials made from biomass to compete with those derived from fossil resources only by economic efficiency. Rethinking from the perspective of regional sustainability and social sustainability, which are not evaluated solely by economic efficiency, we propose a new value system for a carbon cycle society rooted in social acceptability, and form consent with Southeast Asian countries and transfer technology. I envision. The carbon-cultivated society aims to create new values accepted by Japan and Southeast Asian countries.
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) is a national university focusing on agriculture and engineering. TUAT has a reputation with many achievements in industry-academia collaborative research and development, especially in the bioeconomy. TUAT will work together to achieve the purpose of this project in cooperation with universities, research institutes, and companies inside and outside Japan.