Japan Teams Up on Clean Fuel Tech: MHI, NGK Develop New Dehydration Systems

Bioethanol, e-methanol production to see lower costs, reduced energy consumption

Japanese firms Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and NGK Insulators (NGK) announced a joint project on Wednesday to develop innovative membrane dehydration systems for bioethanol and e-methanol production. These systems aim to reduce manufacturing costs and energy consumption, paving the way for wider adoption of these clean fuels.

The collaboration will see MHI leverage its expertise in chemical plant construction and handling methanol, while NGK brings its advanced sub-nano ceramic membrane technology to the table. Notably, NGK boasts the world’s largest ceramic membranes, known for their superior separation efficiency and durability.

This initiative comes amid rising demand for clean fuel alternatives. Bioethanol, a plant-derived fuel commonly used in the US and Brazil, is also seen as a key ingredient for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). E-methanol, produced from hydrogen and CO2, is gaining traction as a next-generation clean fuel, particularly for maritime applications.

The project aligns with both companies’ commitment to sustainability. MHI’s “Energy Transition” strategy targets decarbonization in energy production, supporting its goal of carbon neutrality by 2040. Developing efficient processes for bioethanol and e-methanol production is seen as a crucial step towards achieving this objective.

NGK is equally committed to environmental responsibility. Their “Carbon Neutrality Strategic Roadmap” emphasizes developing technologies for hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). By collaborating on these membrane dehydration systems, NGK aims to contribute to a sustainable future through advancements in ceramic technology.

This collaboration between MHI and NGK holds promise for accelerating the adoption of clean fuels. By making bioethanol and e-methanol production more cost-effective and energy-efficient, the project could pave the way for a cleaner transportation sector and a more sustainable future.