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Business trends

Japanese producers buck weak demand for algae-based biofuel

Southeast Asian production rises while palm oil waste also takes the spotlight

An algae-growing facility designed by Chitose Group in Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, Malaysia (Photo courtesy of Chitose Group)

TOKYO -- Japanese biofuel companies are expanding their production of fuel from sources such as algae and palm oil waste, despite the current lack of demand from the aviation industry and falling oil prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biofuel startup Chitose Bio Evolution, which received funding from oil and gas company Eneos Holdings in March, is planning to expand production of algae that can generate biofuels in Malaysia. It has a 1,000 sq. meter production facility in the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre. Including the rest of Southeast Asia, it is looking to grow its production facility to larger than 200,000 sq. meters.

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