Udon Electricity: Could Japanese Noodles Become the World’s Future Energy Source?

  • INNOVATION
  • CULTURE
  • From the time that civilizations have discovered the use of electricity, the energy consumption level all over the world has constantly increased. With the way we are currently using our energy sources, it is only a matter of time before they run out. Because of this concern, countries are trying to come up with alternative energy sources. In Japan, a company found a solution to this problem in an unlikely place – leftover noodles.

    Current Energy Source

    Two of the world’s primary sources of energy are fossil fuels and nuclear power. However, there are certain issues concerning both of them.

    Fossil fuels have detrimental effects on our environment and there are certain political issues attached to it. The amount of fossil fuel reserves are also rapidly depleting.

    As for nuclear power, there is no denying that it is cost effective. However, because of the devastating 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan has been wary of nuclear plants, and the general consensus is to get rid of all nuclear plants in the country as soon as possible.

    To reduce and eventually stop the use of these energy sources, Japan has been trying to come up with alternatives. Among the more promising companies in this area of expertise is Chiyoda Manufacturing.

    Chiyoda Manufacturing

    Chiyoda Manufacturing in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture has come up with a way to turn udon into power. Udon, a type of wheat noodles, has been a staple in Japanese cuisine for a long time and can be found all over the country. As such, the leftover udon every year is significant. In fact, from one noodle company alone, Chiyoda Manufacturing receives around one and a half tons of udon waste per day, not accounting the udon waste they use for another project which is the udon-to-ethanol production.

    Udon Into Electricity

    If you are wondering about how udon is turned into electricity, the magic happens when udon waste is packed into a large tank measuring 8 meters in diameter and 8 meters in height. The udon is fermented in the tank and the methane gas collected from the fermented udon is then used to power turbines that generate electricity.

    Chiyoda Manufacturing claims that they can generate 180,000 kilowatt-hours of power a year using their udon-to-methane system, which will be enough to power around 50 average households.

    By coming up with this energy source, Chiyoda Manufacturing has not only answered the demand for renewable energy, they also answered the need for reducing waste.

    With the growing unease about sustainable energy, it is a relief to know that companies such as Chiyoda Manufacturing are coming up with alternative ways to secure power for future generations. It is also very admirable that the source they came up with also deals with turning garbage into something else. It does not only help our environment but it also costs little to nothing to get these wastes.

    Japan is certainly very innovative when it comes to their products and this udon-to-electricity system is no exception. I am looking forward to other inventions Japan comes up with in regards to solving the problem of sustainable energy.

    How about you? What do you think of this Japanese innovation?