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Environment

Creating New Models for Reducing CO2 EmissionsDeveloping New Clean Energy Models

In 2020, as a new model for reducing CO2 emissions, the Asahi Group began demonstration testing of power generation with solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOFCs) using biomethane gas from beer brewery wastewater at the Ibaraki Brewery of Asahi Breweries, Ltd.

Using Biomethane Gas Derived from Beer Brewery Wastewater for SOFC Power Generation

SOFCs are known as a method of power generation with high energy conversion efficiency, but they often use hydrogen or city gas derived from fossil fuels, limiting their effectiveness in reducing CO2 emissions.
Therefore, the Asahi Group constructed a refining process for removing impurities from biomethane gas obtained from anaerobic wastewater treatment facilities at breweries with the aim of using it in SOFC generation. Using the purified biomethane gas obtained, the Asahi Group tested an experimental SOFC-based generator, jointly developed with Kyushu University.

Succeeding in Commercialization After Over 20 Years of Challenges

The Asahi Group began work on this challenge in 1998 but was forced to stop temporarily as fuel cell technology was in its infancy. Later, as technology and research evolved, the Group resumed its work in 2015 to develop a low cost system for removing the components in biogas that are harmful to fuel cells and succeeded in generating power successively for 10,000 hours in a laboratory in 2019. In light of these results, the system was selected by the Ministry of the Environment as a subsidy recipient, and the Group constructed biomethane facilities and fuel cells at the Ibaraki Brewery of Asahi Breweries, Ltd.
Stable, continued operation of the facilities began in 2021.
In 2021, the Group also exhibited at the COP26 Virtual Japan Pavilion organized by the Ministry of the Environment and promoted the new technology for reducing CO2 emissions, “Fuel Cell Power Generation using Biomethane Gas from Beer Brewery Wastewater” in the virtual reality exhibition space at the online venue.

Initiative Aimed at Producing Synthetic Methane from CO2 to Achieve Carbon Recycling Inside Plants

The Asahi Group is developing new clean energy models in addition to the initiative described above.
In 2021, a methanation facility was introduced at the Asahi Group Research and Development Center, and the Asahi Group started the first methanation demonstration test in the domestic food business. Methanation is a technology for synthesizing methane, which is the primary component of natural gas, from hydrogen and CO2. Synthetic methane will be generated by reacting recovered CO2 collected from the CO2 separation and recovery testing equipment installed at the center in 2020 with hydrogen generated inside the methanation facility. The goal is to achieve carbon recycling (reuse of CO2) inside plants by using the methane as fuel.

Methanation facility

Methanation facility

Examples of other Asahi Group initiatives

List of initiatives