From: Kyodo News International, Tokyo
Published February 4, 2005 12:00 AM

500 Hours Achieved in Biomass Power Generation

Feb. 4—YAMAGUCHI, Japan — An Osaka-based company on Friday succeeded in generating electricity with biomass fuels for 500 consecutive hours, one of the longest records in the world, at a test facility in Yamaguchi City, company officials said.

Industrial furnace manufacturer Chugai Ro Co. has been developing power generation technology using gases generated from wood waste, a component of biomass fuels that also include manure and many other byproducts from a variety of agricultural processes.

The technology is expected to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions that are responsible for global warming, company officials said.

The company plans to refine the technology through further tests and aims to commercialize the technology by March 2006, the officials said.

The company uses methane and other flammable gases obtained by burning biomass fuels to propel turbines to generate power.

The method developed by the company generated three times more electricity than conventional steam-propelled turbines, the officials said.

Initially, the turbines did not rotate well because of tar generated during the process of burning biomass fuels, but the company solved the problem by heating up the gases to more than 1,000 C to break down the tar.

The company, which works with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, an affiliate of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, gets cedar and cypress trees from the Yamaguchi prefectural government.

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© 2005, Kyodo News International, Tokyo. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

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