Tohoku Electric begins building facility to enable use of wood biomass at thermal power plant in Minamisoma, Japan, to cut coal consumption, reduce CO2 emissions; government paying half the 800M-yen cost of facility, to begin test operations April 2015

FUKUSHIMA, Japan , April 2, 2014 () – Tohoku Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it has started to build a facility to enable the use of wood biomass at a thermal power plant in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan.

Using wood biomass is seen cutting coal consumption at the Haramachi thermal power plant by some 20,000 tons annually and carbon dioxide emissions by some 50,000 tons per year. The new facility will begin test operations in April 2015 at the plant, which has a total output of 2 million kilowatts, according to the company.

Some 800 million yen will be invested in the project, according to the initial plan, with half of the amount covered by a government subsidy. Wood biomass is already used at the company's Noshiro thermal power plant in Akita Prefecture and the Nakoso thermal power plant in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

As fuel, wood chips will be mixed with coal, according to Tohoku Electric. The company wants wood biomass to replace some one pct of about 4.5 million tons of coal used annually at the plant.

The wood chips will be made from unused materials, such as timber for building construction. Almost no change in power generation costs is expected, a Tohoku Electric official said.

The power supplier planned to introduce wood biomass in December 2011, but the schedule was delayed by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan.END
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