What is biomass?
Biomass is commonly defined as renewable organic material derived from living matter (both plants and animals) excluding fossil fuel. Examples include agricultural residue (such as rice straw and sugar cane residue), food waste and animal waste.
Function of biomass carbonization plant
Simply put, biomass carbonization plant is a waste recycling plant that can alter almost anything organic into charcoal (called biochar) through pyrolysis. Processable ingredients include sludge, human waste, chicken manure, scrap wood, agricultural residue, food waste and water hyacinth among others. As biochar can work as a natural fertilizer, soil conditioner, fuel etc., Meiwa’s biomass carbonization technology provides solutions to waste management and agriculture, environment and/or energy at the same time.
Solution to waste management
- Scrap wood
- Food waste
- Water hyacinth
Solutions to Energy / Environment / Agriculture
In overpopulated developing countries such as the ones in Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), waste management has been a major problem. Meiwa’s suggestion is to carbonize organic waste into biochar before they get mixed with non-organic waste or pollutants. For example, our carbonization plants are installed in municipality (for sludge), airport (food waste and biologically hazardous waste), slaughterhouse (sludge), forestry association (wood/bamboo), agricultural association and large scale farmers (agricultural residue) and chicken farm (chicken manure). Meiwa can help you discover each ingredient-specific solution based on its nearly 100 past examples of biomass processing in and outside of Japan.
Wastewater treatment facility
(Sewage sludge → Nutrient rich biochar)
Municipalities in Japan have been struggling with high cost of sludge disposal after treatment. Dewatered sludge used to be incinerated with a lot of fuel. A municipality with the population of 20,000 decided to introduce Meiwa's carbonization plant to reduce and recycle dewatered sludge at its wastewater treatment facility. After regular laboratory analysis on quality, biochar that passes a certain environmental standard proceeds for distribution. Since sludge biochar contains abundant phosphorus, the biochar is favored by local farmers who grow flowers and vegetables. The town is famous for horticulture, so the project is a big plus to the region to empower the industry while reducing organic waste.
*The video is extracted from UNIDO - Sustainable Technology Promotion Platform (http://www.unido.or.jp/en/technology_db/3039/)
(chicken manure → natural fertilizer)
In this chicken farm, more than 100,000 chickens are raised for egg per stall. There is tons of chicken manure generated every day that used to be regular economic burden of the business owner for disposal. The farm tried composting some of the chicken manure, but because of its odor, agricultural effect and long fermentation period, it did not make economic sense. After introducing Meiwa’s carbonization plant, they started managing to sell the carbonized chicken manure (biochar) as natural fertilizer for value while significantly reducing the disposal cost.
Small island municipality
(sugar cane residue → soil conditioner + wood vinegar)
In Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, there is a small tropical island with about 50,000 residents. Due to its isolated geography, closed-loop development model was essential in this city. More than 50,000 tons of sugar cane used to remain unused or burned. Also, sugar cane production has been a major agricultural activity here but the productivity was in decline because of land degradation arising from the overuse of chemical fertilizer. Biochar and wood vinegar made out of bagasse with our carbonization plant successfully worked to grow new sugar cane in this project partnered with the municipality and a university.
(biologically hazardous organic waste → nonhazardous fuel)
In 2006, Meiwa’s batch-type carbonization plant was introduced to one of the largest hub airports in Japan. In this airport, there is many organic waste generated through daily mowing operation as well as biologically-hazardous waste stopped at the quarantine. Our carbonization technology makes sure to all the biological risks by decomposing organic matters under high temperature and turns the waste into biochar as nonhazardous fuel.
Forest management union
(residual wood → soil conditioner + carbon offset)
In all over Japan, utilization of residual wood has been a bottleneck for economically-sustainable forest management. A regional forestry union decided to carbonize it with our biomass carbonization plant to make biochar. Since it contributes to low carbon agriculture, the union collaborated with farmers to produce “carbon-offset melon” with the biochar used as soil conditioner. The branding strategy went well resulting in 15% of economic value addition to the melon.