ITOCHU Announces Conclusion of a Memorandum with euglena Co., Ltd. for the Start of an Overseas Demonstration Project to Culture Euglena

June 19, 2019

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has concluded a memorandum with euglena Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo; Mitsuru Izumo, President; hereinafter “euglena Co.”) to start an overseas demonstration project to culture Euglena, a microalgae, utilizing carbon dioxide and waste heat from thermal power plants.

One of the characteristics of Euglena is that it grows by absorbing carbon dioxide through photosynthesis*1 and stores carbon while generating oxygen. In the project, Euglena will absorb carbon dioxide as it grows, and the cultured Euglena will be used to make animal feed and feedstock of biofuels. Indonesia has been picked as the location where initial cultural test will be conducted, from the viewpoint of costs and climate for cultivation. Other potential countries for the tests are currently under examination. Through this business alliance, euglena Co. launches demonstration tests to isolate and collect strains of Euglena in Indonesia and other potential countries and to culture them, while ITOCHU helps make the projects into viable enterprises by assisting euglena Co. in researching and negotiating potential project locations, procuring materials and researching product marketability. This project has potential to be applied over existing thermal power plants and manufacturing plants that emit carbon dioxide and is expected to be rolled out to a wide range of industries.

Recently, the lower carbonization of energy systems through next-generation technological innovation and the stable supply of protein sources in response to population growth and growing demand for meats and fishes have become global social challenges. This project will help promote Carbon dioxide Capture and Utilization (CCU) technologies and will also help solve future food crises through the stable supply of animal feed.

Euglena Co. is a company that succeeds in producing the world’s first large-scale outdoor cultivation technology for Euglena (“midori-mushi” in Japanese) in Ishigaki Island in 2005 and develops and sells functional food products, cosmetics and other products using the Euglena.
ITOCHU plans to utilize the ITOCHU Group’s global network and knowledge of overseas expansion and to create synergies with its existing projects and businesses.

This project is an initiative that will solve the material sustainability issues (materiality) identified by ITOCHU from an ESG perspective, namely “Address climate change (contribute to realization of low-carbon society)” and “Reinvent businesses through technological innovation (Ensure stable procurement and supply)”, and it is also an initiative that will contribute to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)*2 set by the UN in 2015.

ITOCHU will continue playing an active part in global sustainable development by tackling such material issues through its operating activities.

About Euglena

Euglena is a unique creature which has both plant and animal characteristics. It belongs to the algae family, and is rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. In 2005, euglena Co. succeeded in producing the world’s first large-scale outdoor cultivation tank for Euglena.

  • *1Photosynthesis is the process where plants, algae and other organisms use sunlight energy and produce carbohydrates (starch, etc.) from carbon dioxide and water.
  • *2The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are global goals until the year 2030 set by the United Nations in September 2015.