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Jul.  6, 2018
Toray Industries, Inc.
Toray Holds Grand Opening Ceremony of Thai Demonstration Plant for Cellulosic Sugar-manufacturing Process Using Membranes

 Toray Industries, Inc. (headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Akihiro Nikkaku; hereinafter referred to as "Toray") announced today that it jointly with Mitsui Sugar Co., Ltd. (headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Daisuke Saiga, hereinafter referred to as "Mitsui Sugar") and Mitsui&Co., Ltd. (headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Tatsuo Yasunaga; hereinafter referred to as "Mitsui&Co.") completed the construction of a demonstration plant for manufacturing cellulosic sugar1), a raw material used or producing various biochemical products, from the sugar cane bagasse2) generated at sugar mills. The demonstration plant was constructed at Cellulosic Biomass Technology Co., Ltd. (headquarters: Bangkok, Thailand; hereinafter referred to as "CBT") in Udon Thani province, established jointly with Mitsui Sugar in January 2017. The grand opening ceremony was held jointly by the three companies and was attended by about 60 guests including a minister of the Embassy of Japan in Thailand.  This project is part of the Demonstration Project for an Energy-Saving Cellulosic Sugar Production System using Bagasse under the International Energy Conservation Technology and System Demonstration Project promoted by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and is the research and technological development of membrane bioprocesses that combines Toray's water treatment membrane and biotechnologies.

The completed plant

The completed plant

 Membrane bioprocess is a technology that would enable the reduction of energy for separation and refinement by using membranes in the saccharification and fermentation and to improve conversion efficiency of non-edible biomass. It will contribute to make a supply chain for various biochemicals from non-edible biomass.  The demonstration plant will use the residual bagasse as an ingredient and efficiently co-produce cellulosic sugar, which is a fermenting raw material for bioethanol, lactic acids and succinic acid, and high value added products such as polyphenol and oligosaccharide (diagram). The plant is expected to start operations in late July 2018. By applying the membrane separation technology from Japan, the plant aims to reduce energy consumption more than 50% compared with the conventional manufacturing system, which concentrates sugar solution by evaporating water.  Going forward, Toray will continue running the demonstration plant till fiscal year 2022 (as per plan) to assess and verify the impact on energy savings, product performance, economic viability of the system, etc. Also, Toray will hold educational seminars and PR activities regarding energy-saving useful material production technologies employing polymer membrane technology to disseminate the system to Thailand as well as to the other ASEAN countries.  Toray places environment as the linchpin of its business strategy so as to contribute to the realization of a sustainable low-carbon society, and under this management policy, the company has established itself as a pioneering comprehensive chemical manufacturer in Japan to promote LCM3 environment management based on the LCA concept.  As part of this endeavor, Toray will actively pursue open innovation (collaboration and fusion) of membrane-based bioprocessing between different industries and drive forward the development of supply chain and provisioning of solutions.

[Company profile]
1. NameCellulosic Biomass Technology Co., Ltd. (CBT)
2. LocationHeadquarters: Bangkok, Thailand; Business Office: Udon Thani Province, Thailand
3. EstablishedJanuary 2017
4. Capitalization680 million baht
5. InvestmentsToray Group: 456 million baht [67% stake]
Mitsui Sugar: 224 million baht [33% stake]
6. BusinessTechnological demonstration of cellulosic sugar production process using membranes
[Diagram]

Production flow of cellulose sugar, oligosaccharides and polyphenols from bagasse

Production flow of cellulose sugar, oligosaccharides and polyphenols from bagasse

[Explanation of terms]
1) Cellulosic sugar:
Sugar solution, with glucose as its main component, obtained by hydrolyzing cellulose in inedible biomass.
2) Bagasse:
The solid matter that remains after extraction of juice from sugarcane. Bagasse is burnt in the boiler of the sugar plant and recycled as electrical energy. The remaining bagasse left unused is defined as surplus bagasse.
3) LCM environment management based on LCA concept:
Life Cycle Management, or LCM is a sustainable initiative aimed at improving a business’s economic and social values, while reducing the environmental burden, by viewing a product or service from the perspective of its entire life cycle (Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA) in various industrial and corporate activities.