Technology development for fuel ethanol production from cellulosic biomass, which is a renewable and at present unused resource has been described in this Chapter. A plant, though small in scale, capable of producing fuel ethanol was successfully constructed in our laboratory. Basic technologies, which were developed under individual unit operation conditions however need to be optimized from the viewpoint of energy efficiency. Under the present circumstances of a stable oil supply, the time may not be right to study scale-up of the process for practical application, but we believe that individual technologies developed in this work can be efficiently employed in other fields.
This study was carried out under the auspices of the Research Association for Petroleum Alternatives Development (RAPAD) with the support of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). The pilot plant for producing fuel ethanol was constructed as a joint research project by Toyo Engineering Corporation, Kurita Machinery Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co., Ltd.
Current trends in this field, are covered in publications by: C. Laluce (9), S.R. Bull (10), and M. Kuwabara (11).