Participation in a NEDO Green Innovation Fund Project
Accelerating Development of Microalgae Separation Technology Using Ceramic Membrane

March 27, 2023

NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (hereinafter NGK) announces that NGK has participated in the “Building of a Japanese global industry based on direct use of CO2 through photosynthesis,” one of the themes for the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) Green Innovation Fund Projects, for which Chitose Laboratory Corp. (Kawasaki City) *1 of the CHITOSE GROUP*2 selected as the planned project executor. By working to develop 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.

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 will develop microalgae separation technology using a ceramic membrane. 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 commercialization 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 utilize 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 realizing carbon neutrality while cooperating with other participants.

NGK is participating as an industry building partner in the MATSURI Project*3 operated by the CHITOSE GROUP.

  • *1Chitose Laboratory Corp.
    conducting technology and business development as the core company of the CHITOSE GROUP.
    Established : November 2002
    Headquarters : Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture
    Representatives : Tomohiro Fujita, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Rie Kugimiya, Chief Operating Officer

    The CHITOSE GROUP is a leading bio-corporate group in the global bioeconomy. The group is developing technologies for society while achieving economic rationality, cooperating with governments and many companies with a view to leaving an environment where human beings can continue living in abundance for a thousand years.

  • *3MATSURI Project
    The MATSURI project aims to build an algae industry that has not been achieved by any other organization, working under the leadership of the CHITOSE GROUP, which has strengths in large-scale production and commercialization of algae, and together with leading Japanese corporate groups and the government. The word MATSURI means “Festival” in Japanese, and the project aims to build a sustainable society through the utilization of algae that will be an event in human history worthy of marking with a festival.

Example of ceramic membrane demonstration (image)
Example of ceramic membrane demonstration (image)

Algae cultivation facility constructed in Malaysia (provided by Chitose Laboratory Corp.)
Algae cultivation facility constructed in Malaysia (provided by Chitose Laboratory Corp.)

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