Japanese kit maker promotes wood-based biomass to reduce greenhouse emissions

Japan-based heavy equipment maker IHI Corp. is promoting a method to increase the ratio of woody biomass that's able to be burned at coal-fired power plants amid increasing pressure to curb the carbon dioxide emissions that result from power generation.

By retrofitting the mills that grind coal in preparation for burning so that they're also able to use more wood pellets in the fuel mix, Tokyo-based IHI says it's able to boost the ratio of biomass to as much as 25%.

Shinobu Nakamura, deputy division director of the energy systems center for IHI, told Bloomberg that retrofitting mills can be "done easily" and can be remodelled back to grinders for coal.

The process of retrofitting is made easy so that mills for wood pellets can be switched back to grind coal when woody biomass supplies run low.
Some coal-fired plants are already mixing wood pellets and chips using mills intended to grind coal.

In such co-firing, biomass typically accounts for less than 10 percent of the heat generated, with the remainder contributed by coal.

The push to use more biomass to generate electricity comes as an international agreement on climate change reached at the United Nation's COP21 meeting last year in Paris encourages a shift to more clean energy.

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