Around 1,500 tons of sugarcane is crushed per day, leaving huge heaps of bagasse (center). The material, which would otherwise be disposed of as waste, is used as fuel to generate heat and energy in the process known as biomass generation.
Bagasse burning in the boiler (above). Bagasse ashes are used as fertilizer or for soil remediation and other purposes. In this way, the mill has achieved zero emission, producing no waste or substances that pollute the environment.
Sugarcane field: The plants grow taller than a human adult. Sugar is produced from them after being harvested between December and mid-April.
In partnership with Summit Energy Corporation, a Sumitomo Corporation associated company, the sugar mill that Shinko Sugar Mill Co., Ltd. operates on Tanegashima, an island in southern Japan, was certified in November 2009 for green electric power generation.
Summit Energy is a power supplier, which operates in partnership with more than 20 electricity generating stations throughout Japan. The company focuses on biomass power generation as practiced in the sugar mill of Shinko Sugar Mill, another associated company of Sumitomo Corporation. In the plant, bagasse―the fibrous residue remaining after sugarcanes are crushed to extract their juice―is used as fuel for the boiler, and the steam from the boiler is used to generate electricity to supply the needs of the facility. This biomass cogeneration system of the mill has been certified by the Green Energy Certification Center as generating electric power with environmental value1.
According to this certification, Summit Energy is allowed to purchase from Shinko Sugar Mill the environmental value that is separated from the green electric power and market it in the form of Certificate of Green Power. The Certificate of Shinko Sugar Mill features a high proportion of biomass-derived electricity which amounts to a certified generation of 3 million kWh per year (estimate). The certification is beneficial to Shinko Sugar Mill because it can expect to use earnings from sales of the Certificate of Green Power to stabilize its mill operation.
The person in charge at Summit Energy says toward the future the company will continue to work for its partners in various business fields to be certified as generating green electric power, as part of the company's contribution to society by expanding green power throughout Japan.
Notes: 1. Bagasse emits CO2 when it is burned in boilers. The emissions are equal to the amount of CO2 that the sugarcane plant absorbs from the atmosphere during its growing phases, which makes the process of cogeneration carbon-neutral, meaning no CO2 emissions. Electricity generated in this way has high environmental value with no CO2 emissions. For more details of the green power certification mechanism, please visit "Green Energy Portal Site" at http://www.green-energynet.jp/ (Japanese only).
( Feb. 10, 2010 )
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