Business Alliance with PROS for the Manufacture and Sale of Rice Husk Biochar

Apr. 17, 2023
Marubeni Corporation

Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter, “Marubeni”) and PROS Co., Ltd. (hereinafter, “PROS”), one of Japan’s largest producers of rice husk biochar—carbonized rice husks generated during the rice milling process—signed a basic agreement (hereinafter, the “Agreement”) regarding a business alliance, which will include the manufacture and sale of rice husk biochar. Marubeni will collaborate with PROS to increase its production capacities and increase sales of the rice husk biochar produced for various applications. In addition, when sold for use on farmland, Marubeni aims to create carbon credits which can realize a carbon negative*1 through carbon sequestration into soil and offset CO2 emissions from manufacturing and transportation.

Ear of rice Ear of rice

Rice husk Rice husk

Rice husk biochar Rice husk biochar

Approximately 140 million tons of rice husks are discharged worldwide annually, and there are cases where they are discarded or incinerated without being efficiently utilized, creating an environmental issue. However, rice husk biochar, with its many micropores, exhibits various functions such as heat retention, water retention, moisture absorption, deodorization, and soil improvement. It is indispensable as a heat insulating material for iron and steel manufacturing and as a material for raising seedlings and horticultural soil. In addition to being used as a soil improver and as a type of biochar, it has also been attracting attention as a bio-material for industrial applications in recent years.

Under this Agreement, Marubeni will collaborate with PROS, which has more than 15 years of experience in the manufacture and sale of rice husk biochar and has accumulated know-how—such as that relating to quality adjustment and quality management methods for various applications— to upgrade the manufacturing equipment used at the Akita Plant in Japan. In addition, Marubeni will consider further enhancing rice husk biochar production capacities in Japan and overseas in response to requests from respective customers and seek to generate high-quality carbon credits with co-benefits*2 such as resolving environmental issues and soil improvement. Marubeni will also use this opportunity to actively promote initiatives aimed at building an efficient circular economy. In addition to rice husks, various other biochar derived from unused biomass can be used to create carbon offsets for products including chemicals, all of which have the potential to contribute to the goal of creating such an economy.

*1 Absorbing more greenhouse gases than those emitted. Carbon derived from CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere when rice grows remains in the rice husk, and by burying the rice husk in the form of char in the ground, the CO2 absorbed can be sequestered in the ground. As a result, more CO2 is absorbed and fixed than is emitted during the rice growing stage and biochar production.

*2 Secondary, indirect, and synergistic benefits associated with environmental actions

PROS Overview  
Company Name: PROS Co., Ltd.
Head Office: 1658-1 Takatomachi Higashitakato Ina-City, Nagano prefecture, Japan
Establishment: 2001
President: Shinjiro Nakajima
Business: Manufacture and sale of char, etc.
Operation of rice husk char manufacturing bases (Nagano, Akita, and Niigata in Japan)
Website: https://eco-pros.co.jp/