September 6, 2008

Firm Looking to Generate Power By Burning Bamboos

Tokyo, Sept. 6 (Jiji Press)--A Fukuoka-based food-processing company will conduct a feasibility study on power generation with bamboo jointly with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.

Under the project with the government-affiliated body better known as NEDO, the firm, Kitajima Shokuhin Co., has ordered a bamboo- burning power generation system to Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. .

The 70-kilowatt facility, worth 140 million yen, will produce burnable gasses from waste bamboo. It will be used in a greenhouse at a farm for three years to see if it can be put to practical use.

Bamboo grove areas have been expanding in Japan due to the plant's strong reproductive power. As of the end of 2001, bamboo groves covered 156,000 hectares, or 0.6 pct, of the country's forests, up some 10 pct in 20 years.

Also behind the increase is that falling industrial demand for bamboo due to wide-spreading use of such materials as plastic has left many bamboo woods untouched.

Looking at the increasingly neglected bamboo trees, Kitajima Shokuhin President Takahiko Kitajima came up with the idea of utilizing the trees as a biomass energy resource and has used them as fuel for a boiler at his company's plant for five years.

Given the recent surge in fuel oil prices, a bamboo-burning system can cut electricity generation costs by half, he estimates.END

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