Monday, April 8, 2013

No. 77: Growing popularity of biomass generation among paper companies (April 8, 2013)

Business trend:
Nippon Paper will launch biomass generation totally dependent on unused woods like thinnings. The company will build equipment inside its plant and start selling electricity to Kyushu Electric Power in March 2015. The equipment to be built is a fluidized bed boiler with a capacity of 5,000 kW. The annual output will be about 40 million kW, and investment will be 3.0 billion yen. The company expected to get annual sales of 1.3 billion yen from the mass generation.

The fuel for the biomass generation is totally wood chips made purely of unused woods, and Nippon Paper’s plant will consume about 71,000 tons of unused woods per year. The company tries to increase the generation efficiency by circulating both wood chips and air together inside the boiler. A total of 20 million cubic meters of unused woods are produced annually, whereas 10 million cubic meters of recycled woods are produced annually in Japan. Despite this fact, the application of unused woods is not widespread because it takes much to recover unused woods. Promoting the applications of unused woods is important because leaving unused woods in forests is said to deteriorate ecosystem.

The Japanese government promotes biomass generation dependent on unused woods. The purchase price of electricity generated by unused woods is set at 33.6 yen per kW, 2.5 times higher than the purchase price in the case of recycled woods. Demand for such paper products as print sheets and cardboards has been decreasing, and it is estimated to decrease 1.5% from the previous year to 27,350,000 tons in 2013. To prepare for the decreased demand, paper companies are strenuously increasing the generation capacity. In fact, the paper industry has the second biggest generation capacity of 1,700,000 kW, following the power generation industry. 

 Woody biomass generation equipment

Activities on renewable energy of major paper companies
The company sells electricity at its plants around the country, and it currently has a total capacity of 150,000 kW. It has already introduced a biomass boiler that uses unused woods.
The company has already introduced biomass generation at its 12 plants nationwide. 
The company has already introduced a gas cogeneration system in its plant. It has also introduced photovoltaic generation equipment in four plants inside Japan.

The efforts to apply unused woods for 
biomass generation are in progress.


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