The Tokyo Cement Group recently opened its second Biomass power plant to supply the largely rural region of Mahiyanganaya with 5MW of energy.
This Rs. 2.4 billion plant by Tokyo Power, the energy arm of the nation’s leading cement and concrete manufacturer, Tokyo Cement Group, is an initiative to build on its expertise in sustainable biomass power. “Tokyo Power launched the Mahiyanganaya plant after successfully pioneering the first plant of its kind in Sri Lanka that provides 10MW of clean energy to their factory in Trincomalee,” according to a company statement.
This 5MW Dendro power plant is expected to contribute approximately 40 million kWh annually to the national grid using sustainable green energy sources, notably Gliricidia, a fast growing tree legume, which is available in abundance in the country’s dry zone. The fuel-wood is obtained from plantations of Gliricidia sepium, or from farmers in the region who grow these trees through Tokyo Cement’s out-grower agricultural programmes.
The expected generation capacity of 40 million kWh per year or 3.33 million kWh per month should enable the supply of electricity to reach an additional 30,000 rural households, thereby allowing the farmers that grow and supply Gliricidia, to directly benefit from their involvement in supplying biomass for the community’s energy consumption, the company said.
“Our success with our initial Biomass plant in Trincomalee, gives us confidence that this plant will not only supply clean, stable energy to an under-served region but will also help stabilise the electrical grid, by supporting the CEB (Ceylon Electricity Board). Consistent, stable power generation will allow for small and medium scale industries in the region to perform better without the fear of outages,” noted E. Kugapriya, General Manager, Tokyo Power.
The Tokyo Power Dendro Plant in Mahiyanganaya will generate 40million kWh annually to light up 30,000 rural homes with clean energy, whilst preventing 28,122 Metric Tons of greenhouse gasses being emitted into the atmosphere.
“This is the equivalent of taking 5,920 passenger vehicles off the road, or if we were to drive 10,775,846,000 kilometres less every year. It is the equivalent of NOT consuming 11,978,640 litres of gasoline, or NOT burning 13,701,421 Kgs of coal. It is the equivalent of 10,80 tons of waste NOT being sent to landfills. The environmental impact of such carbon emissions could only be sequestered by planting 721,082 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or the equivalent of 23,051 acres of a forest per year,” the statement noted.
Tokyo Cement said it aims to engage 20,000 farming families and promote Gliricidia growing across 2500 acres of Mahiyanganaya, to empower rural communities and develop sustainable land use systems, thereby securing the wellbeing of resource-lacking farming communities.
“Through the Gliricidia growing programmes, we have forged many strong bonds with local farming communities. We decided early on that we wanted them to take ownership of this project that not only leads to the electrification of their homes, but will also stimulate their local economy. We’ve projected that this Tokyo Power Dendro plant, will contribute Rs. 24 million per month in direct cash flow to farmers in the region. Thereby making this a truly self-sustaining initiative,” said Salinda Kandapola, Agricultural Outsourcing Manager at Tokyo Cement Group.