Showa Chemical Industry Co Ltd announced Sept 4, 2019, that it has built a woody biomass heat supply plant equipped with hot-blast stove facilities on the premises of its Okayama Factory (Maniwa City, Okayama Prefecture) and started test operation of the plant.
It is part of New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization's (NEDO) project to test local stand-alone systems using biomass energy.
The plant uses surplus woody biomass including bark produced in the region as fuel and uses generated heat in the process of producing/drying Showa Chemical's diatomaceous earth products. The plant uses about 24t of biomass fuel per day. With a capacity of up to 2,050kW, it supplies high-temperature (500°C) air. It is equivalent to 30% of the heat quantity required for the drying process of the existing factory.
The woody biomass heat supply plant was set up in an area adjacent to an existing heat supply plant using LNG (liquefied natural gas) fuel. It consists of a (1) fuel tank that has a function to dry biomass fuel by using exhaust heat from the existing LNG-based heat supply plant, (2) biomass hot-blast stove for drying diatomaceous earth and (3) heat exchanger for replacing combustion gas generated in the hot-blast stove with clean high-temperature air.
For the biomass hot-blast stove, a step type stoker furnace suited for combustion of various fuels was employed. It continuously combusts fuel around the clock. By stably operating the facilities, Showa Chemical expects to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel by 20% and the amount of CO2 emissions by 1,000t per year for the entire Okayama Plant.
Showa Chemical will conduct the test operation as a project of NEDO by the end of fiscal 2020. After that, the company plans to carry out operation for its own research by the fall of 2023. By using both imported LNG and locally-produced biomass fuel instead of using only LNG, the company aims to establish a sustainable society that coexists with an existing ecosystem.