In a strategic collaboration with Sony Group Corporation and Sony Intellectual Property Services Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation is pioneering a transformative initiative to convert rice husks into valuable biofuels, biochemicals, and renewable energy sources. This ambitious project addresses environmental challenges and underscores Sumitomo’s commitment to sustainable innovation and global leadership in resource management.

The Significance of Rice Husks

Rice husks, a byproduct of rice milling, pose significant waste management challenges globally. With over 100 million tons generated annually worldwide and approximately 2 million tons in Japan alone, effective utilization of rice husks is crucial for sustainable development.

Technological Innovations Driving Sustainability

Sumitomo Corporation’s pilot project focuses on advanced technologies to maximize the potential of rice husks

  • Rice Husk Charcoal: Through thermal decomposition and carbonization, rice husks are transformed into charcoal, offering a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
  • Rice Husk Silica: Extracting high-quality silica from rice husk incineration ash for use in diverse industries, including electronics and construction.
  • Rice Husk Activated Charcoal: Producing porous carbon materials for applications in water purification and air filtration, leveraging the unique properties of rice husks.

Global Market Outlook and Business Expansion

The global demand for sustainable materials is growing exponentially, driven by environmental awareness and regulatory frameworks promoting eco-friendly alternatives. The market for bio-based materials, including those derived from agricultural waste like rice husks, is projected to expand significantly. According to industry reports, the market was valued at USD 10 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 8% through 2026.

Leading Business in the Biochemical and Biofuel Sector

  • DuPont: A pioneer in sustainable biobased materials, including biobased polyamides, transforming industries from automotive to consumer goods.
  • Arkema: Innovating in biobased polyamides and other sustainable solutions for industries ranging from transportation to sports and leisure.
  • Evonik: Advancing biobased polymers for specialty applications such as 3D printing and medical devices, contributing to sustainable solutions across diverse sectors.


Sumitomo Corporation’s pioneering efforts in converting rice husks into sustainable solutions exemplify its commitment to environmental stewardship and technological innovation. As global industries increasingly adopt sustainable practices, Sumitomo Corporation remains at the forefront, driving positive change and creating a blueprint for a greener, more sustainable future.

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