Establishment of Carbon Caultivation-Based Material Development Technology
Considering the overwhelming abundance of biomass and its renewable and carbon-neutral characteristics, the potential of biomass as a substitute for fossil resources is enormous. Since cell walls composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin make up the majority of the dry weight of plant biomass, effective utilization of these major components is the essence of plant biomass utilization. In addition, some plant species contain many components such as vegetable oils and fats, all of which can be converted into materials and chemicals to maximize the value of the biomass. In particular, in the development of biomass-derived materials and chemicals, it is essential not only to seek performance equivalent to that of fossil resource-derived materials but also to add further functionality to expand their applications. In particular, in the post-with-coronary era, when we are expected to face unknown infectious diseases, it is essential to develop materials and chemicals for anti-infectious diseases, i.e., from a new perspective that is in harmony with a post-with-coronary society.
We aim to develop technologies to convert biomass components into chemicals with performance equivalent to that of petroleum-derived chemicals and to develop unprecedented material designs and chemicals with high environmental compatibility and harmony with the post-with-corona era. We will develop conversion technologies for cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, which are the main constituents of rice and woody materials, as well as for vegetable oils and fats derived from unutilized resources abundant in Southeast Asia and vegetable oils and fats extracted from algae, etc. We will also develop conversion technologies for these green products. In addition, with a view to the social implementation of these green products, we will accelerate research and development through industry-academia collaboration and develop cooperation with overseas emerging countries (especially ASEAN) that have abundant unutilized resources to be targeted.
Development of Separation and Conversion Utilization Techniques for Plant Cell Wall Constituents
We aim to fully utilize our in-depth understanding of plant biomass components and a wide range of biomass separation and conversion techniques. Our objective is to advance the development of separation technologies for plant cell wall components and to spearhead innovative saccharification methods. Moreover, through the application of these component isolation techniques, we are committed to creating novel cellulose materials that preserve the inherent characteristics and porosity found in plant structures.
Conversion of Carbohydrates and Carbohydrate-Derived Monomer Materials
We will primarily focus on materials obtained through biomass saccharification and employ microwave-assisted chemical reaction technology. Specifically, we are dedicated to advancing the development of functional polymers and chemicals, with a particular emphasis on applications in fields like healthcare and electronic materials.
Utilization of Lignin
Our goal is to establish a process involving the direct catalytic alkaline oxidation of plant matter. This process yields a mixture that can be subsequently converted into raw materials for engineering plastics, such as terephthalic acid and adipic acid, through microbial transformation into muconic acid. We have already created catalyst-immobilized lignin decomposition catalysts, which simplify the separation process from cellulose fibers generated after lignin breakdown in plant material. Additionally, we have developed microbial strains capable of yielding muconic acid from aromatic compounds at high efficiency. The implementation of these technologies will significantly contribute to the realization of our objectives.
Utilization of Plant Oils and Fats
Natural plant oils and fats contain a variety of components, including saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, phenolic compounds, catechol compounds, and cinnamic acid derivatives. Within this spectrum, our endeavor is to innovate and produce novel, environmentally friendly products (including chemicals, chemical intermediates, biomass plastics, and biofuels) utilizing plant oils and fats sourced from untapped and non-edible waste resources.