NGK Insulators works to develop microalgae separation technology using a ceramic membrane

NGK Insulators has participated in a New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) Green Innovation Fund Project called “Building of a Japanese global industry based on direct use of CO2 through photosynthesis” aimed at developing microalgae separation technology using a ceramic membrane.
NGK Insulators works to develop microalgae separation technology using a ceramic membrane
Algae cultivation facility in Malaysia. Courtesy of Chitose Laboratory Corp.

Green Innovation Fund Projects are set up to provide ongoing support for companies and other organizations engaged in achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 as a management issue over 10 years through all stages from R&D through to demonstration testing and social implementation. NGK is participating in a theme that involves developing manufacturing technologies for products using microorganisms such as microalgae that can be produced using CO2 as a raw material, with NGK developing microalgae separation technology using a ceramic membrane.

NGK aims to contribute to the creation of a bioindustry and promotion of its social implementation to help achieve carbon neutrality.

Demonstration testing of the technology is being conducted from March 2023 at one of the world’s largest algae cultivation facilities with a footprint of five hectares, which was constructed by Chitose Laboratories in Malaysia as a project backed by NEDO. Through development and demonstration testing, NGK aims to contribute to the commercialisation of chemical products, such as bioplastics and functional materials, as well as fuels, foods, and livestock feed made using microalgae.

The global shift toward carbon neutrality is drawing attention to bioindustries that utilise non-fossil fuels such as microorganisms, for example, biomass fuel made using microalgae. Ceramic membranes have been used in the separation process for extracting raw materials for food production, such as soy sauce and vinegar. Due to their inherent high corrosion and heat resistance properties, their use is also being promoted for the bioindustry as an effective separation technology in the manufacturing process for products made using microorganisms.

Under its medium- to long-term vision, “NGK Group Vision: Road to 2050,” carbon neutrality has been set forth as one of the social issues that NGK should engage with, and it has been working to create new products and businesses. Through its participation in the Fund Project, NGK will further accelerate development of ceramic membranes and contribute to realising carbon neutrality while cooperating with other participants.

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Tags: Algae , Fuel , CO2 , Biomass , Japan , Carbón
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