Mitsubishi’s subsidiary Mitsubishi Power Systems and the Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) have formed a new joint venture for biomass power projects in Japan.

The new joint venture Aioi Bioenergy will be aimed at promoting and developing biomass power generation business in Japan.

It is being established with an initial capital of ¥450m ($4.06m), out of which KEPCO will invest 60% of capital and the remaining 40% will be invested by Mitsubishi.

Aioi Bioenergy will handle the conversion of fuel being used at the second unit at KEPCO’s Aioi Power Station in Hyogo Prefecture, which has a capacity of 375MW, to woody biomass. The unit is currently powered by heavy oil and crude oil sources.

The project is also expected to help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as it uses naturally derived pellet fuel.

Mitsubishi stated: "MC 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."

There are in total of three units at the Aioi Power Plant, where Unit 1 started operations in September, 1982, producing 375MW. The unit uses natural gas, heavy oil and crude oil as fuel.

The second unit, Unit 2 started its operations in November of the same year as the Unit 1. This is the unit, whose fuel will now be changed from heavy oil and crude oil to biomass.

The third unit, Unit 3 began operations in January, 1983.  Even the third unit produces about 375MW and uses natural gas, heavy oil and crude oil as fuels.

Mitsubishi presently has an operational renewable energy portfolio of about 73MW from solar. It is also developing and constructing wind and geothermal power generation projects across Japan.

Image: Mitsubishi and KEPCO form joint venture. Photo: Courtesy of Rawich/