Energy / Climate Change

January 14, 2008


Mitsubishi Launches Biopellet Fuel Business

Keywords: Fossil Fuels Manufacturing industry Non-manufacturing industry 

Mitsubishi Corp., a major Japanese trading company, announced August 20, 2007, that it has entered the biopellet business with a new company that will manufacture and distribute wood pellets designed mainly for co-firing with coal in coal-fired boilers. The new venture, Forest Energy Hita Co., established July 31 in collaboration with the Hita Resource Development Cooperative Association and Taisei Mokuzai K.K., is based in Hita City, Oita Prefecture. It is scheduled to start operations in January 2008 after installation of production facilities with an annual capacity of 25,000 tons, the largest in Japan.

Wood pellets are a solid fuel made of usually discarded biomass resources such as cedar bark. These feedstocks are broken into fragments, dried, compressed, and then formed into cylindrical pellets measuring 6–8 millimeters in diameter and 20–30 millimeters in length. Compared to other solid biomass fuels, wood pellets have a higher energy density and grindability, and are easier to handle. Because of these properties, wood pellets equivalent to 5 percent of the total heat generated can be co-fired with coal in an existing coal-fired boiler without any modifications. This reduces the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from regular coal combustion.

Mitsubishi plans to provide a stable supply of wood pellets for western Japan. By launching similar businesses in Japan and abroad, the company is also aiming to set up a nationwide biopellet supply system to contribute to reduction of CO2 emissions and the creation of a new bioenergy industry.

Posted: 2008/01/14 10:25:02 AM
Japanese version