Asahi Breweries, Ltd., and the National Agricultural Research Center for Kyushu Okinawa Region (KONARC) have developed a combined sugar/bioethanol production process using a new variety of high-biomass sugarcane. The new sugarcane produces 50% more biomass, and yields 30% more sugar compared to the conventional cultivar used for sugar production. Ethanol production is five-fold more per cultivated field.
Production from conventional sugarcane requires three crystallization processes to separate sugar crystals from molasses; the new developed process yields about the same amount of sugar with a single crystallization process, due to the increased amount of sugar ingredients in the high-biomass sugarcane. Then the remaining high sugar-content molasses can be used for ethanol production.
The increased amount of bagasse is used for fuel.
The partners intend to optimize the process over the next two years.