Amaterasu Railway In Japan Runs On Leftover Ramen Broth And Cooking Oil

Miyazaki Prefecture hosts a small railway known as Amaterasu Railway, which serves as a sightseeing train. Amaterasu railway features a 30-minute train journey to take you around famous landmarks in the prefecture. The train, however, is a bit quirky with a few unique elements that make it a charming experience, including its wide roof and pink-colored cars, and the fact conductors blow bubbles during the route.

The train has now added a new and exciting aspect. It has switched from regular fuel in favor of biodiesel, a specific type that reuses ramen broth and other delicious foods. It releases a less pungent smell in the air and is negligibly harmful to the landscapes of the mountains and the rice fields it traverses.

Biodiesel is the name given to diesel fuel composed of animal fats or vegetable oils and can be a substitute for fossil fuels. In certain regions, such as Europe, biodiesel is made from vegetable oil derived from rapeseed, canola, or soybeans. In contrast, the Japanese industry is not competing with food producers to get resources and instead uses cooking oil or food waste.

Nishida Logistics, from the neighboring prefecture, devised a way to fuel their delivery trucks using biofuel. Amaterasu Railway then came together with Nishida to fuel their train with biodiesel. This resulted in the train using biodiesel, of which 90% is sourced from cooking oils. 10% is derived from tonkatsu, the ramen broth. The sources for it come from local eateries. The broth was first filtered from the bone soup and later refined using such means that prevent hardening. The only disadvantage to this type of biodiesel is that it can be kept for only up to a few months, at most, before the oxidation process starts to diminish the product’s effectiveness.

The first test drive was held in July. Biodiesel fuel could power the train comprising two wagons and 60 people without any issue, even on an uphill stretch. While regular maintenance filters for fuel are necessary, the price is believed to be around the same as regular fuel. In addition, the delightful smell that comes from burning biodiesel is causing people to ask the train conductors if they have an eatery nearby.

Amaterasu Railway is a tiny picturesque train that has eliminated regular fuel and is powered by biodiesel that is created, in addition to other delights made from the leftover broth of ramen.

To convert this fatty broth into biodiesel, the company separates the lard from the leftover bone soup made from pork. It refines it with an exclusive method that prevents the hardening process.


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