Renewable Energy

Creators of renewable energy

Helping to decarbonize society and energize the local community by
overseeing safe, reliable operations at a biomass power plant

Interview

JRE Kamisu Biomass Power Plant
Chief Boiler & Turbine Engineer

What kind of work are you involved in currently?

Building on my past career working in thermal power generation for over 30 years, and the skills I acquired during that time, I am now Chief Boiler & Turbine Engineer at the JRE Kamisu Biomass Power Plant, which commenced operation in May 2019. My duties include overseeing the operational safety of the power generation equipment and providing training and guidance to young plant operators. Biomass power generation is a renewable energy source that promises to help achieve carbon neutrality by making effective use of materials such as wood scraps from house demolition, or timber from tree thinning for forest conservation purposes, by employing these materials as fuel. The mechanism by which steam produced by a boiler turns turbines to generate electric power is the same as for thermal power generation using fossil fuels. But biomass power generation employs fuels that vary in terms of their water content, so plant operation requires sophisticated control technology that differs from that required when using fossil fuels. As this is a new endeavor, even for JRE, we consider it one of our key missions to build up operational know-how regarding biomass power generation.

Have any experiences while operating the plant left a deep impression on you?

What left the deepest impression on me was the trouble we had with the conveying system that feeds the accumulated fuel chips into the boiler. Fuel chips comprise a mixture of woods that differ slightly in terms of their material properties, hardness, and shape, so in the early days of operation we often experienced issues with the chips damaging the conveyor belts and other conveying equipment, causing emergency shutdowns. Right from the beginning, I was prepared for the fact that managing the boiler turbine would be difficult, but it brought home to me the difficulty of managing the conveying system as well.

What are your aspirations and goals, both in work and in your personal life?

My goal at work is to ensure safe operation and no sudden stoppages at the power plant. At the same time, I want to build up know-how regarding biomass power generation and do all I can to train younger workers. And I’d also like to get involved with other new biomass power plant projects undertaken by JRE in future. In my private life, I’m currently on transfer away from my family, so I’m having a go at all sorts of housework, including cooking, laundry, and cleaning. Cooking in particular has something in common with boiler management in the sense that it requires you to not merely rely on instructions, but to make use of your own know-how and ingenuity. So now I’ve come to appreciate how much there is to it. And if I were to name one more goal, it would be to improve my score in golf, which has been a hobby of mine for years. I’m aiming for an average score in the 80s. Both in my job and in golf, I want to give it all I’ve got and keep at it for the rest of my life.

Finally, what would you like to say to JRE’s stakeholders?

We’re aiming to decarbonize society through renewable energy in the form of biomass power generation. In addition, we intend implement thermal recycling* to contribute to the best of our abilities to the advancement of industries such as the forestry and industrial waste industries in neighboring areas, while also creating employment opportunities. I’d therefore like to ask stakeholders for their continued understanding and cooperation.

* Thermal recycling: Recovering and using energy produced in the form of heat, steam, etc. when waste is burned.

Related pages
  • Biomass power generation business

Renewable Energy