Our founding project, “Making ethanol and animal feed from rice to create a sustainable society” with the city of Oshu, Iwate Prefecture.
We also welcome other local communities that are interested in exploring ways to create a circular economy within their own communities. Finding the ideal local resource to product development and design and public relations, we consult on ways to find the ideal project that connects the city to the rural community.

Oshu, Iwate

Rice Ethanol Project (Oshu, Iwate)

Scene 1

We have re-cultivated an idle rice field and planted a new crop of rice for animal feed. Using this rice, we are currently making ethanol and animal feed in Oshu, Iwate.
10 years ago (back in early 2000), rice farmers and local municipality in the former Isawa (currently a part of Oshu) initiated a study group to explore ways to make rice ethanol. In 2010, Fermenstation, in coordination with the City of Oshu, conducted its first small-scale feasibility study. Fermenstation acted as an advisor and main operator of the ethanol plant.
* We have conducted tests for radioactive materials and have received negative results on our rice, rice broth and rice ethanol (exams conducted by QSAI Analysis and Research Center Co., Ltd.) .

Scene 2

Preserving the beautiful rural landscape and creating new businesses for the coming generation.
Globally, rice is an extremely important crop. However in Japan, there is an over- supply and a production adjustment policy** has been put in place for nearly 40 years, and as a result, many rice paddies were deserted. Oshu was no exception and the rice farmers wanted to once again grow rice and reclaim the wasted rice paddies and the once beautiful landscape. Our goal is not only to reclaim the wasted rice paddies but to create a new industry by producing ethanol and creating new products.
** This policy has been altered and is in the process of being abolished by 2018 (as of April 2015).

Scene 3

Our rice is made by the rice farmers of Isawa district of Oshu, Iwate. They use no agrochemicals and chemical fertilizers. We use this rice to make our ethanol. You can even hear the rice broth crackle during the fermenting process. Our process is done manually and we take care and time in fermenting and distilling.
koji and yeast
Using a traditional crushing machine, we add koji (rice yeast) and yeast and let it slowly ferment.
dehydrated to become ethanol
The fermented mash will then be distilled and dehydrated to become ethanol

Scene 4
Product development 1

Ethanol is used as ingredients for cosmetics and aroma therapy related goods. We manufacture original products such as air refreshers and also provide our ethanol on an OEM basis. We also provide consultation on product creation and product development.
Komesshu,Home Ethanol
Left : “Home Ethanol” made from home grown rice / Right : “Komesshu” air refresher made from rice

Scene 5
Product development 2

The fermented residue or “broth scraps” is being used as a major ingredient for our natural facial soap. We use only the best rice (whole grain) and since we do not use any chemicals in the fermenting process, the residue is safe and has been tested for its high quality, namely moisturizing and whitening effect.
Oshu Sabon
We make our soap that has the least impact on the environment, and totally hand made.
It is both safe and kind to the skin and to our environment.

Scene 6
Animal feed

The fermented residue is an excellent source of animal feed. Tested for its nutritious content as a result of the yeast used in the fermenting process, we are providing it to a local free-range egg farmer to feed its hens. We have seen positive results and are continuing our experiment on its effect. We are also working along with pig farmers as well and experimenting on its effect on pigs.
animal feed
The fermented residue is rich in nutrients and is being used on an experimental basis as animal feed.

Scene 7
Product development 3

We are also thinking of making egg, poultry and pork products from the animals that feed on our residue and also developing confectionery using the eggs.
The egg
The egg yolk is lemon yellow and is now renowned for its rich taste.
Discover Oshu

Discover Oshu

We are conducting tours on a limited basis to discover the beauties and traditions of Oshu, Iwate.
We have been receiving requests from our fans to conduct tours to see where we make it all happen. From rice making to ethanol and animal feed making, we have started conducting tours in cooperation with our local partners, to introduce our business and our grand scheme of creating a circular economy.
This tour is a two day event where we visit Fermenstation’s ethanol studio and to see the beautiful scenery of Oshu, Iwate. Eating local delicacies and our famous eggs, it is a fun two days with plenty of interaction with the warm hospitality of the people of Oshu.
*Tours are currently conducted on a reserved basis.

If you are interested in doing a project with us.

Fermenstation provides consulting services to those wanting to make biomass and ethanol derived products. We currently advise many corporations that are using rice ethanol as ingredients for their cosmetic products. Since we can advise on biomass other than rice, we are more than happy to take a sample and see what we can make from your original biomass source. We can also help you with product concepts and designs.

We provide low-cost methodologies in producing ethanol from biomass based on our fermentation technology.
We have conducted a number of experiments from a variety of biomass, such as, wheat, potatoes and other starch ingredients and food scraps. Unused biomass that does not compete with food is our focus.
We are also experimenting on a number of new projects such as making aromatic oils from natural ingredients such as pine trees.

Our Partners

We have an all star team made up of local rice farmers, egg and pig farmers, green tourism operators and local business people. For many people in Oshu, farming is a part of life and they take part in our project be it participating in rice planting, harvesting or maintaining the hens.
Agri Sasamori
Agri Sasamori
This is our farmers that belong to Agri Sasamori, a local cooperative. They do their rice making by using minimal agrochemicals and no chemical fertilizers and emphasize on natural crop making. There is even a local rice planting champion in our team.
Macchan’s eggs
Macchan’s eggs
Mr. Takashi Matsumoto is our egg farmer partner in Mizusawa district, Oshu. Mr. Matsumoto uses our fermented residue as animal feed. Mr. Matsumoto tries to use locally grown materials for his chicken feed and the eggs are renowned for its taste.
Our Staff at Oshu Laboratory
Our Staff at Oshu Laboratory
Our staff at Oshu Laboratory are all from Iwate. They are our foundation for ethanol making and are busy every day tending our fermentor and distilling equipment. They also have expertise in farming and are experimenting on ways to use the eggs be it for baking and confectionery.
Mai-mu Mai-mu Oshu
Mai-mu Mai-mu Oshu
Mai-mu Mai-mu is a group that is made up by Agri Sasamori, Fermenstation, Mattachan Egg Farm and Farm Stay Maya-Goya. We hold a number of events, workshops and tours each year that allows for people to experience the regional self-sustainable lifestyle we promote, connecting people from the city with rural Japan. Our positive circle of life starts from Agri Sasamori by growing organic rice. Fermenstation uses that rice to produce ethanol. Mattachan Egg Farm uses the fermented residues from Fermenstation which is a byproduct of ethanol production as chicken feed. Farm Stay Maya Goya uses the chicken manure from the egg farm to grow its own rice and vegetables which they offer to its guests.