Tokyo Adds Biomass Energy to Waterfront

Waterfront property in Tokyo is prime realty, and environmentally friendly businesses have received an invitation to make a small part of the waterfront their own. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has launched the Super Eco-Town Project to promote the transformation of the current society in the city into a recycling-based society. Bioenergy of Japan is building an anaerobic digester at the project, and plans to power a fuel cell off of the resulting gas.

Bioenergy has contracted with Marubeni Corporation of Japan, which is a partner company of FuelCell Energy of Connecticut, for a 250 kW Direct FuelCell power plant. Fuel for the anaerobic digester gas will come from food waste generated in the Tokyo metropolitan area, and the plant should process up to 110 tons of waste per day. The DFC power plant will provide approximately 50 percent of the facility’s base load electricity requirements, and the heat will be converted to process steam for the recycling operations. Marc G. Aube, who is the vice president of Marubeni Power International, said “Bioenergy Co. sees ‘harmonization with the global environment’ as a priority issue for its corporate management and has committed itself to environmental conservation activities on a company-wide basis. DFC power plants offer a clean and more efficient alternative to traditional reciprocating engine-based distributed generation.” Super Eco-Town is one facet of national projects being promoted for urban revitalization. The Tokyo Metropolitan government is helping to develop waste treatment and recycling facilities as solutions to the waste problem. Establishing environmental industries is a step toward the transformation to a recycling society. Facilities to be developed as part of the Super Eco-Town project include a PCB detoxification treatment plant, gasification melting and other power generating facilities and recycling facilities for construction and other types of waste. Under Japan’s Food Recycling Law, which was enacted in 2001, business in the food industry are obliged to reduce or recycle food waste more than 20 percent by 2006. Power generation through methane fermentation of food waste streams is an approved way to accomplish the reduction goals. The Bioenergy installation will receive incentive funding from the Ministry of Agriculture, and represents the first project awarded under its Biomass Nippon Strategy Program. There is a budget of over $200 million for food recycling projects, including those that will power fuel cells. Japan recently adopted a national renewable portfolio standard with a target of 1.5 percent by 2010, or over 3,000 MW of power generation from solar, wind, geothermal, small hydro and biomass.
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