Mitsubishi Corporation Power Systems (MCP) and electric utility The Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) have set up a new joint venture to boost biomass power generation in Japan.

Named as Aioi Bioenergy, the new joint venture will be injected with an initial capital of Yen450m ($4.1m). The Mitsubishi subsidiary will contribute 40% of the investment and the remainder by KEPCO.

Moving forward, the joint venture will take up a project to convert the fuel used by the 375MW Aioi Power Station Unit 2 of KEPCO to woody biomass. Current, the plant uses heavy oil or crude oil sources for generating power.

The fuel conversion project will help in cutting down carbon emissions owing to the use of pellet fuel derived through natural methods.

Located in Hyogo Prefecture at Yanagiyama, the Aioi Power Plant comprises three units each of 375MW which were commissioned between 1982 and 1983.

MCP released a statement which read: “Mitsubishi and its subsidiaries intend to continue working with local and international partners to develop power generation projects that use renewable energy, thereby contributing to increased energy self-sufficiency and the growth of new industries in Japan while at the same time helping to combat greenhouse gas emissions.”

Presently, MCP operates about 73MW of energy produced from solar projects. Besides, it is developing and constructing geothermal and wind power generation facilities in Japan.

The new fuel conversion project will further expand its existing renewable energy offerings.

In late February, Mitsubishi was awarded a contract alongside Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and H Young & Co to build a 140MW geothermal power plant in Kenya by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company. Named as Olkaria V, the geothermal plant will be the fifth in a series of similar projects built in the Olkaria region.