• Kyodo News


Sapporo Breweries Ltd. plans to conduct what is said will be the world’s first trial to produce hydrogen gas, or biohydrogen, by using sugar cane and leftover farm produce in Brazil in September.

The project, to be carried out jointly with Brazil’s state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro S.A., or Petrobras, is aimed at selling the environmentally friendly hydrogen gas as a fuel for cars and for industrial use within 10 years. The project will use food materials or inedible parts of farm produce created in the course of farming and biofuel production, the beer producer said Tuesday.

Hydrogen does not release carbon dioxide linked to global warming or any other harmful gases while being burned.

It has been generally considered that such cellulose-based ingredients that are high in fiber and carbohydrates do not lend themselves well to practical use. But as they are not edible, the production of biohydrogen will not create food shortages, Sapporo claimed.

“We plan an active push into the energy business by selling our hydrogen plants and expertise,” Sapporo Director Hideya Takashima told reporters.

Sapporo has developed the technology to produce hydrogen gas out of leftover food through use of its fermentation and other techniques employed in the brewing process.

In the joint project, which is estimated to cost $2.5 million, or ¥245 million, Sapporo will provide Petrobras with necessary production facilities and knowhow to extract hydrogen gas.

The facilities are due to be exported to Brazil in July.

Plans call for reducing the production costs of the biohydrogen to a reasonable ¥40 per cu. meter within 10 years.

Ergostech Renewable Energy Solutions Ltda, a Brazilian research firm, will perform the actual trials, Sapporo said.

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