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2 Japanese Firms Cultivate Euglena in Colombia

To produce biofuel by using exhaust air from thermal power plant

2019/12/02 20:13
Sousuke Kudou, technical writer
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DMMD's thermal power plant (source: Itochu & Euglena)
Facilities for outdoor cultivation tests (source: Itochu & Euglena)

Itochu Corp and Euglena Co Ltd announced Nov 27, 2019, that they will start a project to test the cultivation of euglena for livestock feed and biofuel in Colombia.

Itochu and Euglena concluded a cooperation agreement with a local partner company. This is the second time that the two companies have signed a cooperation agreement to test the cultivation of euglena in a country other than Japan, following Indonesia, which was announced in June 2019.

The verification project is aimed at cultivating euglena (microalgae) by using carbon dioxide emitted from existing power plants and factories to produce raw materials for livestock feed and biofuel.

In the project, Euglena is responsible for tests concerning isolation, collection, breeding and cultivation of local euglena strains. And Itochu supports business operators and advance into overseas markets through researches on the candidate sites of the verification project, negotiations, support for procuring materials, researches on the sales potential of products, etc.

This time, the two companies signed the cooperation agreement with Drummond Ltd Colombia (DMMD), a coal supplier in which Itochu invested in 2011. A place for testing the cultivation of euglena was secured near a thermal power plant owned by DMMD. Carbon dioxide and heat emitted from the plant will be used for the cultivation.

Also, Euglena formed a partnership with Universidad Popular del Cesar, an influential university in Cesar, Colombia, and obtained a permission to conduct researches for the verification project from local authorities. Euglena will import/export Japanese euglena, collect local euglena and conduct researches on, for example, the outdoor cultivation test of euglena via the university. Euglena dispatched researchers to Cesar and started a cultivation test in early November 2019.

In Indonesia, Euglena has already chosen a local partner company and a university and dispatched researchers, planning to start a cultivation test at the same time as in Colombia. Based on the results of six- to 12-month tests in the two countries, the company will narrow down countries, planning to gradually increase the scale of the verification test after that.