Symenergy to Build Biomass Power Plant in Wakayama

Co-generation unit employed to supply heat, electricity

2019/12/19 12:44
Sousuke Kudou, technical writer

Symenergy Inc (Kobe City) announced Dec 10, 2019, that it will build a small-scale woody biomass power plant with an output of 900kW in Aridagawa-cho (town), Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.

The plant will supply electricity and heat by effectively using unused materials produced in the region. Symenergy will receive a loan from a local bank, call for investment from people engaged in forestry, etc. It will start construction of the plant as a power plant focused on the community in May 2020, planning to start power generation in December 2020.

As power generation facilities, a cogeneration unit manufactured by Austria-based Urbas was employed (450kW (rated output) x 2). The woody biomass power plant is expected to generate about 6,700MWh of electricity, which is equivalent to the amount consumed by 2,300 households, per year.

All the electricity generated at the plant will be sold to The Kansai Electric Power Co Inc. As fuel, 10,000t of wood is processed into chips and used.

Heat produced at the time of generating power will be supplied to a chip factory and used for drying chips. It will also be supplied to neighboring heat users such as heat-using facilities and factories. The power generation efficiency of the system is 31%, and its total energy efficiency including heat utilization is up to 82%.

Wakayama Prefecture has abundant forest resources. The proportion of forestland in the prefecture is the eighth highest in Japan. However, the forestry in the prefecture has been in a slump in recent years partly because it is difficult to cut trees due to steep terrain and the price of wood is declining every year.

On the other hand, Aridagawa-cho has been promoting the introduction of renewable energy-based power sources such as wind and solar power plants and small hydroelectric power plants.

Symenergy became connected with Aridagawa-cho and people related to its forest industry and launched the project because of the following reasons. First, people related to the local forest industry attended a lecture delivered by the president of Symenergy at "Biomass Seminar in Wakayama," which took place in Wakayama Prefecture. Second, a trading company has been consulting with Symenergy on the effective use of local resources.

Symenergy has been considering optimal specifications and business contents that are suited for the scale of the local forest industry with a focus on "fitting with the community" in cooperation with the local government, local businesses and the trading company.

For the future, Symenergy will establish a "biomass center" for reducing the consumption of fossil fuel in the community by installing biomass boilers at factories, farmhouses, administrative facilities, etc, and promoting the sale of wood chips as fuel.