Tuesday, May 7, 2013

No. 711: Generating electricity using gases from sewage treatment (May 7, 2013)

Fuji Electric developed a generation system that utilizes methane gas generated in the sewage treatment plant. The company developed equipment that extracts hydrogen from methane gas. Combined with the industrial fuel battery for plants and offices, the equipment generates electricity. The fuel battery has a capacity of 100 kW, and the system is available at 70 million yen that is about 40 % lower than the generally-used gas engine. Besides being high in generation efficiency, the system makes less noise. That is, it can eliminate the cost to build noise insulation equipment. The company is running the system on a trial basis in a prefecture in the Kanto region. The prefecture is expected to get sales of 60 million yen by selling electricity as against the maintenance cost of about 20 million yen per year.

Biomass generation is subject to the nationwide system to purchase electricity generated by renewable energy that started last July. Because of high initial investment, however, biomass generation is not as popular as photovoltaic generation. It accounts for only 1% of all equipment for power generation approved by electric power companies as of January 31, 2013. The purchase price of electricity produced by biomass generation is set at 40.95 yen per kW. The generation system by virtue of gas generation in sewage treatment is not widespread in the world. Fuji Electric plans to export the system to developing countries including Southeast Asian countries. According to a research firm, the world biomass generation market will grow from 21 billion yen in 2010 to 23 billion yen in 2015.  
The technology to utilize sludge for generation was first established in 2007, 
and the technology advanced to utilize methane gas in 2013. 

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