Ramen-based fuel now powers one of Japan’s most beautiful sightseeing railways | So Good News


Leftover tonkotsu broth gets a new purpose in Kyushu.

Ramen broth is undeniably delicious, responsible for the most pronounced flavors you experience while enjoying a ramen meal. On the other hand, the taste can be overwhelming when you’re out of noodles and toppings, and drinking every last drop of broth you’re served isn’t the healthiest choice.

The result is that diners often have some broth left in their bowl when they’re done eating, and while it’s a decision your palate and body will likely thank you for, it can also seem a bit wasteful. Fortunately, though there is a company in Japan that turns leftover ramen broth into fuelas shown in the video below.

Now that ramen fuel is used to power the cars on one of the most scenic train lines in Japan, Kyushu’s Takachiho Amaterasu Railway.

▼ Takachiho Amaterasu Railway, i Miyazaki Prefecturefeatures two-car open-air trains that run along part of the former Takachiho Railway route, providing scenic views to sightseers.

Masumi Nishida is chairman of the board of Nishida logistics, a shipping company headquartered in Fukuoka Prefecture. About 10 years ago, Nishida was talking to one of his customers, the owner of a restaurant specializing in tonkotsu (pork) ramen, Fukuoka’s favorite variety. When the owner told Nishida about the cost of paying a waste disposal company to dispose of the leftover ramen broth customers didn’t drink, Nishida began to wonder if it could be used to make biodiesel instead..

So Nishida Logistics installed equipment at the restaurant where the leftover ramen broth could be dumped to separate out the fat content, which can then be used to make biodiesel. The ramen-derived fuel is blended with biodiesel made from used tempura cooking oil, another eco-minded initiative Nishida Logistics has introduced, and the blended Japanese food-based biodiesel now operates about half of the company’s fleet of 170 trucks.

Nishida Logistics has since started making its ramen/tempura biodiesel commercially available to other companies, and in August Takachiho Amaterasu Railway became one of their customers.

▼ The Takachiho Amaterasu Railway train, here powered by ramen-based fuel, carries groups of up to 60 riders on a 30-minute round trip.

So far, the transition from the ordinary diesel the railway previously used has been problem-free, with no reports of mechanical problems as a result of the conversion. The new biodiesel produces less smoke, allowing passengers to better enjoy the natural mountain scenery, and the resulting exhaust is even said to smell like fried rice or ramen being cooked.

Source: Kyodo via Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko, Colabora, NHK
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