Japanese firm to build biomass power project in Butuan

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 October) – A Japanese firm engaged in the construction of bridges and renewable energy projects has partnered with the City Government of Butuan to construct a 2.5-megawatt biomass energy facility that will turn rice husks into fuel this year.

In an interview on Sunday, the 3rd day of the 100th year anniversary celebration of the Davao Japanese Community held at the SM Lanang Premier, Chodai Philippines Corporation vice president Toshimichi Hosoya said the company is just waiting for the approval of the government to commence the construction of the renewable energy facility, one of its major projects in Mindanao.

Chodai Philippines Corporation vice president Toshimichi Hosoya speaks at the 100th year anniversary celebration of the Davao Japanese Community at the SM Lanang Premier on Sunday, 06 October 2019. (MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV)

He said rice husks could be a good source of biomass for Mindanao since the island has several hectares of rice farms that produce throwaway rice husks, sufficient enough to run the turbines of the biomass facility that produces power.

He said the company estimates the project, considered as one of the major renewable energy projects of Chodai in partnership with a local government in Mindanao, would be completed in one year.

“Mindanao has a lot of rice farms. That’s why we can get the rice husk easy. It has so much potential for renewable energy projects — a lot of potential. We know the rice husk project before it’s just garbage but we are trying to make that into fuel. That is a biomass project,” he said.

Biomass energy projects are common in Japan as the country, known in the world for its clean environment, is trying to further cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which are “costly” and “not good for the environment,” he said.

Mindanao has a huge potential for renewable energy projects, among them hydro energy projects, because of its rich natural resources, according to Hosoya.

He said Chodai had already completed three hydropower projects – the two-unit eight-MW Asiga River Small Hydropower Project and four-MW Taguibo Small Hydropower Project in Agusan de Norte, and 23-MW Wawa River Small Hydropower Project in Agusan del Sur.

Chodai was one of the Japanese firms that participated in the three-day Davao Japanese Community’s 100th Anniversary Business Seminar held Wednesday to Firday at the Marco Polo hotel, to look for possible business ventures in the city.

April Marie Dayap, head of the Davao City Investment and Promotion Center (DCIPC), said participants were mostly interested in manufacturing, agri-tourism and environment-related projects.

“Among those investors who expressed their interest in the city are those in the manufacturing industry, agri-tourism, waste composting companies, and tourism. We further want to bring them here and hopefully develop investment here,” she said.

Dayap said the event was a big opportunity for the city to expand its foreign investment portfolio and generate more employment for Dabawenyos.

Japanese Consul General Yoshiaki Miwa said manufacturing will be the next big thing in Davao City, especially that several Japanese manufacturing firms are interested to venture in the city.

“Manufacturing industry has a very wide range. We can start at a level that will match the level of industry in the city. We just have to create a strategy. I understand that the DCIPC and DCCCII know about this and are thinking about ways to accommodate the manufacturing sector,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)