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Rengo to Pioneer SAF Production from Construction Waste by 2027

Investing $133 Million to Produce Ethanol for Greener Aviation, Enhancing Japan's SAF Supply Chain
r 3941.TSE Anime 20
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In a pioneering effort to bolster the sustainability of aviation fuel, Rengo, a leading Japanese cardboard manufacturer, is set to commence the production of ethanol from construction waste by 2027, as part of a groundbreaking initiative to produce sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). With an investment of approximately 20 billion yen ($133 million), Rengo aims to contribute to making Japan’s aviation sector more eco-friendly by installing state-of-the-art equipment for ethanol production, which will subsequently be processed into SAF.

This initiative is particularly timely, as Japan seeks to catch up with Europe and the U.S. in developing a robust SAF supply chain. SAF has been identified as a crucial element in reducing aviation carbon emissions by 70-90% across its life cycle compared to conventional jet fuels. The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is targeting a mix of 10% SAF in aviation fuel used by domestic carriers by 2030, highlighting the national commitment to environmental sustainability.

Rengo’s venture into SAF production via its subsidiary Taiko Paper Mfg. is notable for its focus on utilizing construction waste—a novel and less common feedstock compared to the traditional ethanol sources like corn and waste cooking oil. This approach not only mitigates concerns over food supply impact but also promises a more stable procurement network by leveraging existing waste recovery operations. The company’s plan to produce 20,000 kiloliters of ethanol annually from 2027 is poised to meet approximately 1% of Japan’s SAF demand, marking a significant step towards diversification and sustainability in aviation fuel sources.

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