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Japanese power giants form joint venture to beef up biomass power

Mitsubishi Corp. Power Systems, Inc. (MCP), a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp.(MC), has joined with The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. (KEPCO) to establish a new joint venture to develop biomass power.

The new venture, Aioi Bioenergy Corp., is being set up to promote and develop biomass power generation business in Japan. The new venture will have an initial capital of 450 million yen, with 40% of that being invested by MCP. 

The project is aiming to facilitate the conversion of fuel used at the second unit of KEPCO's Aioi Power Station in Hyogo Prefecture (capacity: 375MW) from its current heavy oil or crude oil sources to woody biomass. The project will also contribute to controlling overall carbon dioxide emission (CO2) due to its use of naturally derived pellet fuel.

MCP already operates some 73MW of power generated from solar projects and is developing and constructing wind and geothermal power generation projects across Japan. The new project expands on these existing renewable energy initiatives. 

MC and its subsidiaries intend to continue working with local and international partners to develop power generation projects that use renewable energy, thereby contributing to increased energy self-sufficiency and the growth of new industries in Japan while at the same time helping to combat greenhouse gas emissions. 

Although biomass power generation emits CO2 during combustion, the fact that the same trees absorb CO2 while growing up offsets this, resulting in a balance of zero added CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, a state referred to as carbon neutral.

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight.





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