Ethanol from Organic Rice
The power of fermentation for an enjoyable society
Fermented non-agricultural rice grown in a fallow field within Oshu city, Iwate Prefecture is being used to make ethanol. Lina Sakai of Fermenstation Co., Ltd, a one-of-a-kind business, makes use of unutilized resources with new ideas and technologies. In addition to wholesaling ethanol as a raw material for cosmetics and such, the company uses it in its own cosmetics brand and other miscellaneous goods. The products are of high quality, beautifully designed and popular as gifts.
“The power of fermentation is amazing and really fascinating. It is the reason I chose the path of biofuel and is at the core of my motivation.”
Sakai previously worked in the financial industry. She graduated from university and started her career working in banks for 10 years, but recalls that was just her temporary self.
“I always wanted to do something that only I could do. In order to find out what that was, I chose the world of finance where I could learn broadly about society.”
Around the time when Sakai became interested in environmental issues through work, she learned about the possibility of turning food waste into energy with fermentation technology on TV and thought, “This is it!”. She quit her job and entered Tokyo University of Agriculture at the age of 32. While studying, she participated in Oshu city’s bioethanol business which led her to her current work. Sakai is happy that fermentation has other merits for society.
“Rice koji, which is a fermented rice bran, is not only used in our cosmetics, but also serves as food for chicken and cattle. Chicken feces can be used as a fertilizer for rice and vegetables. We are able to create a resource circulation that does not emit waste.”
Moving forward, the company aims to expand its method to various parts of Japan as well as overseas.
“By fermenting and brewing, things that would normally go to waste or are thought of as unnecessary turn into valuable things that are useful to everyone. It would be ideal if this became a society norm.”
Born in Tokyo, Lina Sakai graduated from International Christian University and worked at Fuji Bank., Ltd. (Currently Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd.) and Deutsche Securities. In 2009, she graduated from Tokyo University of Agriculture, Department of Fermentation Science and Technology and established Fermenstation.
2. Outdoor spray using ethanol made with rice. Lemongrass / Palmarosa scents; 2,322 yen each.
3. The brand name was coined from the words “fermentation” and “station“.Oshu Sabon soap made with rice koji. Oshu Sabon Natural 2,160 yen (tax incl.)
4. Ethanol made with rice .
Fermenstation products are sold through the KOKO LUMINE Store (NEWoMan Shinjuku Ekinaka) which disseminates the wonders Japanese monozukuri or manufacturing.