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Window to Asia

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Glycol lignin | A Japanese consortium led by Lignomateria Co. has inaugurated a demonstration plant in Ibaraki Prefecture for the production of glycol lignin. The technology, based on work at Japan’s Forest Research Institute, uses polyethylene glycol (PEG) and dilute sulphuric acid at 140 °C to extract lignin from Japanese conifer trees. PEG preserves wood during processing. The annual production capacity is 100 tonnes and could be scaled up to several thousand tonnes. Prototypes of automobile hoods and biodegradable materials for 3D printers have been produced from glycol lignin. The annual consumption of plastics in Japan is about ten million tonnes; calculated from the growth rates of conifer forests in Japan, glycol lignin-based materials could possibly contribute more than two million tonnes.

Carbon market | China is attempting to build a nationwide carbon market. China’s 4540 operating coal plants generate over 1,000 gigawatts, about half of the global coal power capacity, and generate 62 % of China’s electricity, contributing over 40 % of the nation’s energy-related CO2 emissions. A team from

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