By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – A Japanese firm engaged in the construction of bridges and renewable energy projects has partnered with the Butuan City government to build a 2.5-megawatt biomass energy plant that will turn rice husks into fuel this year.
In an interview during the 100th-anniversary celebration of the Davao Japanese Community at the SM Lanang Premier on Sunday, Chodai Philippines Corporation Vice President Toshimichi Hosoya said the company is just waiting for the approval of the government before it starts construction of the facility, one of its major projects in Mindanao.
He said rice husks, which are discarded by rice farms, can run the turbines of the biomass plant.
He said the company estimated the biomass power project, considered as one of the major renewable energy projects of Chodai in partnership with a local government unit in Mindanao, would be completed in one year.
“Mindanao has a lot of rice farms. That’s why we can get the rice husk easily. It has so much potential for renewable energy projects — a lot of potential. We know rice husk project, before it’s just garbage but we are trying to make that into fuel. That is a biomass project,” he said.
He added that biomass energy projects are common in Japan as the country, known in the world for its clean environment, tries to further cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which are “costly” and “not good for the environment.”
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 such as 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 to look for possible business ventures in the city from Wednesday to Friday at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao.
April Marie Dayap, the head of the Davao City Investment and Promotion Center (DCIPC), said participants who participated were mostly interested in manufacturing, agri-tourism, and environment-related projects.
“Among those investors who expressed their interest in the city are into the manufacturing industry, agri-tourism, waste composting companies, and tourism. We further want to bring them here and hopefully develop investment here,” she said.
Japanese Consul General Yoshiaki Miwa said that manufacturing will be the next big thing in Davao City, especially since several Japanese manufacturing firms are interested in setting up in the city.
Miwa said that as the economy of the city grows, Japanese investors also want to develop a company-to-company relationship with local businesses.
“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.