Sumitomo Osaka Cement to increase use of biomass, Japan

Sumitomo Osaka Cement to increase use of biomass, Japan
Published: 08 November 2012

Japan’s third largest cement producer by volume Sumitomo Osaka Cement Co plans to reduce its reliance on coal by using increased amounts of biomass, Senior Corporate Executive Officer Masafumi Nakao has said.

 “As an industry that consumes a lot of power, we need to take measures to promote energy conservation,” Mr Masafumi Nakao told Bloomberg. “Wood chips are now in the spotlight as a fuel source.”

Using more biomass is one way Japanese companies are seeking to reduce GHG emissions after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident last year. Japan introduced a feed-in tariff program in July to provide incentives for companies that produce electricity from clean sources.

Sumitomo Osaka Cement, which currently gets about a third of its non-fossil fuel from sources such as wood and industrial waste, plans to meet 40 per cent of its needs from alternatives within three years and 50 per cent in the longer term, Nakao said. It burns a mix of wood chips and coal to make electricity at its Tochigi and Kochi plants.

The company operates three integrated cement plants with a combined capacity of 8.1Mta. In FY11 (ending March 2011) the group reported a domestic sales volume increase of 0.9 per cent YoY to 8.6Mt as cement exports grew six per cent compared with the previous fiscal year to 1.8Mt This resulted in a total sales volume of 9.8Mts, a 1.5 per cent upswing from FY10.