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JR East to produce biogas from food waste

Japan-headed railway operator East Japan Railway Company (JR East) has revealed that it has established a biogas-to-power company in collaboration with compatriot JFE Engineering Corporation. J Bio Food Recycle Co. Ltd will use food waste collected from JR East train stations and sell the electricity to Urban Energy Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of JFE Engineering, under the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme. The plant is scheduled to begin producing electricity in August 2018.

An artist’s rendering of the J Bio Food Recycle biogas plant (image courtesy JFE Engineering).

The recycling facility and biogas plant are being built in Yokohama city, Japan. Designed to process up to 80 tonnes of food waste per day, the plant is expected to begin producing electricity in August 2018. On an annual basis, the plant is expected to supply 11 GWh of electricity with some of the heat used by the facility.

According to JR East, the amount of food waste generated from the company’s station buildings and shops in the station premises reaches as much as 50 tonnes a day in Tokyo and Kanagawa alone. Most of the waste has been used in waste-to-energy plants as it is often mixed with fat, salt and packaging materials.

The project marks the first cooperative venture between the JFE Group and the JR East Group. JFE Engineering will design and construct the facility for J Bio Food Recycle Co and JFE Kankyo Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of JFE Engineering, will collect and transport food waste generated by food manufacturers and others.

By participating in the project, JR East and JR East Environment Access, a wholly owned subsidiary of JR East, can efficiently promote recycling of food waste generated by station buildings and shopping areas in stations operated by the JR East Group.

JFE Engineering has constructed more than 150 waste treatment facilities, the largest class raw kitchen waste biogas power generation facility ordered by municipal government is a typical example. whereas JFE Kankyo has a track record of approximately 40 years in the waste treatment business as a leading company in total recycling.

In the future, the JFE Engineering Group says it will also propose new business arrangements, not limited to Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and operation, in order to contribute to the formation of a low carbon and recycling society.

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