Yanmar Co Ltd announced Nov 14, 2019, that Yanmar Energy System (YES) Co Ltd has started to test "Rice Husk Gasification Power Generation System."
The system supplies heat and electricity by using rice husks produced in rice farming. It is Japan's first compact gasification power generation system specialized for rice husks, according to Yanmar. YES (Osaka City) is a company affiliated with Yanmar.
About 2,000,000t of rice husks are produced per year in Japan. However, they can produce crystalline silica (toxic substance) if they are not appropriately processed.
It is currently prohibited to burn rice husks in an open field. Though some of them are used for composting, they have not been used as an energy source.
With patented technologies, the Rice Husk Gasification Power Generation System can process rice husks without generating toxic substances. "Rice-husk charcoal," which the system generates as a by-product after burning rice husks, is harmless. And it includes potassium and soluble silicic acid, which contribute to soil improvement (e.g. the improvement of water retentivity and activation of microorganisms) and function as fertilizers.
The system was installed at Fukuhara Farm (Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture), which produces pesticide-reduced and pesticide-free rices, Aug 28, 2019, and it started power generation on a full scale. With an output of 15kW, it is planned to generate 75,000kWh of electricity per year.
Fukuhara Farm processes about 200t of rice husks per year. By introducing the system, it plans to (1) solve the problem of rice husk processing, which is becoming more serious as the scale of its farm increases, (2) use generated power for self-consumption and (3) provide farmland with rice-husk charcoal to realize resource-recycling agriculture.