As Idemitsu Group is working on renewable energy based power generation, we also put efforts into biomass fuel with the aim of supplying lower carbon energy. Specifically, at coal-fired power plants, we are working on the development of black pellets, a biomass fuel that can be co-fired with coal to reduce CO2 emissions.
Even as we strive to promote renewable energy generation projects, we are engaged in biomass fuel-related operations as part of our efforts to supply energy from sources with lower carbon footprints. Specifically, we are developing black pellets, a biomass fuel that can be co-fired with coal at coal-fired power stations to reduce CO2 emissions.
Black pellets are made by pulverizing, drying, and roasting wood to semi-carbonize it. Compared with conventional white pellets, black pellets boast superior properties, including water resistance, and are easier to crush. Along with these features, they can be handled in the same way as coal. This makes it possible to reduce coal consumption without modifying existing power generation facilities while increasing the use of renewable energy sources in the form of black pellets. Proving this point, Idemitsu’s Tokuyama Complex has successfully used a feed of 20% black pellets in combustion trials at its coal boilers. In 2020, in addition to the existing demonstration plant in Thailand, we built a sample production plant in Vietnam. Going forward, we will advance preparations to commence commercial production.
Furthermore, using idle land at the Ensham Coal Mine in Australia, we have begun test cultivation of sorghum and test production of black pellets using this crop. Going forward, we plan to advance demonstration tests aimed at the commercial export of biomass fuels leveraging our mine infrastructure.
On June 6, 2019, the “ASEAN Bioenergy and Bioeconomy Conference 2019” hosted by Kasetsart University was held in Bangkok. Invited by the university, our engineer from Coal Coal Business Department gave a lecture on the technology of semi-carbonizing wood pellets (black pellet). Currently, Idemitsu Kosan is working on black pellets production in Thailand.
During the event, we had an active opinions exchange with local biomass-related companies, and many participants expressed their expectations to Idemitsu as we presented our plan regarding biomass commercialization.
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