Japan’s most powerful wood gas-to-energy power plant, powered by two of GE Energy’s Jenbacher gas engines, has won the Gold Award for the Best Renewable Energy Power Plant of the Year, conferred by Asian Power magazine. The innovative project generates power from an abundant, renewable biomass resource that would otherwise be treated as rubbish, demonstrating opportunities for future waste-to-energy initiatives in Japan.
The annual Asian Power Awards, which highlight Asia’s top power plant projects, were announced during the Power-Gen Asia 2008 conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The wood gas plant in Yamagata Prefecture is owned and operated by Yamagata Green Power, an electricity distribution company and subsidiary of renewable energy development firm Japan Biomass Development Co., Ltd. The plant was installed by Kanagawa-based JFE Environmental Solutions Corp., the environmental solutions engineering arm of JFE Group.
The plant, fueled by gasified wood chips from a nearby forest, is capable of generating two MW of electricity. Most of the plant's energy is sold to a power producer and supplier, with the rest being used to support plant operations.
“The Yamagata plant is an important specialty gas-to-energy technology reference model for the region. It is supporting the Japanese government’s initiatives to expand renewable energy production to help meet its emissions reduction goals under the Kyoto Protocol,” said Wataru (Bill) Horie, Country Executive of GE Energy in Japan.
By 2010, Japan is seeking to increase renewable energy production to three percent of the country's overall energy supply. Additionally, as part of its renewable energy strategy, Japan is seeking to expand its use of biomass fuel up to 330 MW by 2010.
""The successful deployment of GE's specialty gas engines exemplifies our ongoing commitment to provide technology solutions with both energy and industrial applications. Our Jenbacher gas engines with their fuel-flexibility continue to bring value to our customers with innovative applications around the world,"" said Steve Bolze, President and CEO of GE Power and Water.
Located about 400 kilometers north of Tokyo on the island of Honshū, in Murayama-shi, Yamagata Prefecture is Japan's largest cherry producing region. Unlike other gasified wood plants, Yamagata's Murayama site runs completely on wood gas, without any backup fuel supply such as natural gas.