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Sojitz Invests in Green Earth Institute to Begin Development and Commercialization of Non-Petroleum Based Green Chemicals Using Biomass

-Building a Biochemicals Business to Contribute to a Low-Carbon and Recycling-based Society-

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Jun. 11, 2021
Sojitz Corporation

Sojitz Corporation (“Sojitz”) has acquired a stake in Green Earth Institute Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo; “GEI”), through a third-party allotment of shares. GEI is a company producing biomass-derived chemicals using specialized manufacturing technology.

GEI is a bio-venture company started by the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (“RITE”), which is engaged in the development and commercialization of amino acids for food and feed use, biochemicals (non-petroleum chemicals), and biofuel. While chemicals have traditionally been manufactured using petroleum, GEI instead uses non-food biomass (including plant stems and leaves), a type of biomass that does not compete with food crops or feed, as well as residue from farms and food factories.

GEI’s “Core technology” is a revolutionary fermentation method first developed by RITE that uses microbes (Corynebacterium glutamicum) as part of its biorefinery technology. Historically, non-food biomass was difficult to process as a raw material due to the challenges utilizing its unique sugars. However, GEI’s technology can effectively utilize these sugars while eliminating the effects of fermentation inhibitors, and biomass products can thereby be manufactured efficiently at a low cost. In addition, through genetic engineering bacterial cells can be developed based on the target product, making it possible to manufacture a wide array of biochemicals.

GEI’s biochemicals [GEI’s biochemicals]
Corynebacterium glutamicum used for GEI’s fermentation method [Corynebacterium glutamicum used for GEI’s fermentation method]

With the backdrop of climate change, pollution, and the risk of resource depletion, the chemicals industry is currently at a turning point. The need for businesses with a low environmental impact continues to increase in order to support a low-carbon and recycling-based society. Based on this climate, the biochemicals market is expected to demonstrate significant growth moving forward.

Through this investment in GEI, Sojitz aims to utilize GEI’s revolutionary biorefinery technology to create new business in the biochemicals field. Capitalizing on its customer network of approximately 5,000 global companies in the chemicals industry and its sales and procurement networks, Sojitz will leverage the strengths in its current projects to create environmentally friendly businesses that realize sustainable growth for the future. In doing so, Sojitz will contribute to the realization of a low-carbon and recycling-based society.

[Related Information]

Company Overview – Green Earth Institute Co., Ltd.

Established 2011
Location Head Office:7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Research Center:2-5-9 Kazusa-kamatari, Kisarazu-shi, Chiba
Representative Director Tomohito Ihara,
Representative Director & CEO
Main Business Development and commercialization of green chemicals from biomass materials and biofuel manufactured using a revolutionary biorefinery technology
Website http://gei.co.jp/en/

 

Company Overview – Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth

Established 1990
Location Head Office:9-2, Kizugawadai, Kizugawa-Shi, Kyoto
Tokyo Office:1-4-3 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
NT Toranomon Bldg. 8F
Representative Director Yoichi Kaya,
President
Main Business RITE is an institution that conducts R&D of industrial technologies for preservation of the global environment and development of the world economy
Website https://www.rite.or.jp/

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