Japanese refiner Idemitsu is aiming to begin commercial operations of a 50MW biomass power generation plant at its Tokuyama petrochemical complex in December 2022, utilising infrastructure at the former refinery site and expanding the firm's biomass-related business.
Idemitsu started building the power plant in western Japan's Yamaguchi prefecture this month, targeting completion in June 2022. The plant will initially be fed with around 230,000 t/yr of imported wood pellets and palm kernel shells. The company plans to eventually shift the fuel to domestically-supplied woody biomass, such as thinned and waste wood.
The Tokuyama power plant is designed to produce around 360GWh/yr of electricity, which will be sold under the country's feed-in-tariff scheme to meet demand of around 100,000 households.
Idemitsu permanently closed the Tokuyama refinery in 2014 under the trade and industry ministry's refinery rationalisation drive. The plant has since been transformed into the company's main petrochemical production site.
Idemitsu currently participates in small-scale biomass power ventures, including the 6.25MW Tosa and 7.34MW Fukui projects. Both projects generate electricity from burning unused wood material.
Idemitsu is also developing technology to grow sorghum and produce black pellets from the crop at its 85pc-owned Ensham coal mine in Australia's Queensland. The company is now carrying out verification tests for pelletising the plant into wood pellets and planning to begin terrefaction tests to convert wood pellets into black pellets later this year. The company aims to supply black pellets to Japanese coal-fired power plants.