Photo: SoraNews24

Ramen-based fuel now powers Japanese sightseeing railway

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

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

The result is diners often have some broth left in their bowl when they finish eating, and while that’s a decision your palate and body are likely to thank you for, it can also seem a little wasteful. Thankfully, though, there’s a company in Japan that’s turning leftover ramen broth into fuel, as shown in the video below.

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

▼ The Takachiho Amaterasu Railway, in Miyazaki Prefecture, has two-car open-air trains that run along a section of the former Takachiho Railway route, providing beautiful views to sightseers.

Masumi Nishida is the chairman of Nishida Logistics, a shipping company headquartered in Fukuoka Prefecture. About 10 years ago Nishida was talking with one of his clients, the owner of a restaurant that specializes in tonkotsu (pork stock) ramen, Fukuoka’s favorite variety. When the owner told Nishida about the expense of paying for a waste disposal company to take care of the leftover ramen broth customers didn’t drink, Nishida started to wonder if it could be used to make biodiesel instead.

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

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

The Takachiho Amaterasu Railway train carries groups of up to 60 riders on a 30-minute round-trip journey.

So far, the changeover from the ordinary diesel the railway was previously using has been smooth, with no mechanical problems reported as a result of the switch. The new biodiesel produces less smoke, letting passengers better enjoy the natural mountain scenery, and what exhaust that does result is even said to smell like fried rice or ramen being cooked.

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

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- How to make tonkotsu ramen at home 【SoraKitchen】

-- “Hey, how’d you get our personal information?” we ask a Japanese telemarketer

-- Ippudo serves up plant-based tonkotsu ramen in Japan for a limited time

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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This may not be very cost efficient, but I think it is positive to recycle something destined to be discarded and used instead of using other resources to produce the fuel, if this becomes more common it can have a significant effect reducing waste and maybe even leading to improvements that could make it a convenient option to take.

The new biodiesel produces less smoke, letting passengers better enjoy the natural mountain scenery, and what exhaust that does result is even said to smell like fried rice or ramen being cooked.

Interesting, and maybe even a plus on short trips, but spending a long time constantly under the smell of fried rice or ramen cooking can be really overwhelming.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I like seeing innovations like this. There are cars running on used cooking oil all over the place but to add ramen broth is cool.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A bit sceptical myself, having run three cars on biodiesel in Europe.

The lard content of the biodiesel will be ridiculously low though maybe enough to lend a tonkotsu ramen aroma to the exhaust for the ワイワイ! factor.

The tempura oil will be much cleaner. I always had to replace fuel filters after the first 1,000 or so km because so much gunk from fossil diesel was stripped from the tank and pipes by the vegetable oil, which - crucially - solidifies at significantly lower temperatures.

Is there a tax dodge in there somewhere?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A worthy effort. Always better to at least try and do something than to sit on your hands and claim it is too difficult!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smart and useful, I have a suggestion, how about giving customers an hot pot filled with the broth of their choice and serve the bowl half topped in the initial serving then customers can add on if needed instead of topping the bowl with soup from the start.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Would NEVER work with me. I always finish my Ramen broth. Just love it way too much.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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