Energy / Climate Change

September 23, 2006


Inexpensive, Efficient Biomass Power System on Horizon

Keywords: Non-manufacturing industry Renewable Energy 

An inexpensive small but efficient biomass power system equipped with a Stirling engine and a direct biomass combustion burner has been developed by Japan's Chubu Electric Power Co. The project was launched in fiscal 2004 as a joint endeavor with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and C-Tech Corp.

The adoption of the Stirling engine allows the system to directly utilize heat from the combustion of solid biomass and generate electricity efficiently without having to convert the fuel into a gas, a process that requires complex facilities. This technology is expected to expand possibilities for small-scale decentralized power generators that use various biomass fuels such as waste wood and agricultural residue. Other eco-friendly features of the system include low noise and vibration, and reduced NOx emissions.

The new system is designed to directly burn pulverized biomass in a burner and use the combustion gas to heat the Stirling engine externally. Without the need for a biomass gasification process, plant facilities can be simplified, thus reducing equipment and operation costs.

The development team conducted a performance test of the Stirling engine and succeeded in generating 55 kilowatts of electricity at a test plant. After improving the plant to allow it to maintain stable operations, the team will initiate full-scale pilot operation in September 2006. Practical application of this technology is expected to lead to the widespread use of small-scale decentralized biomass power systems, and to help curb carbon dioxide emissions responsible for global warming.

Posted: 2006/09/23 01:52:46 PM
Japanese version