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Sumitomo Corp acquires stake in Canada's second largest pellet producer

Sumitomo Corporation has announced that it has acquired 47.6 percent of the shares of British Columbia (BC) wood pellet manufacturer Pacific BioEnergy Corporation thereby making an entry into pellet production in Canada.

Yoshinobu Kusano, General Manager Biomass Business Team, Sumitomo Corporation, here seen speaking at the Argus Biomass 2017 conference in London, UK earlier this year. According to Kusano, Japanese companies are ready to secure long-term biomass supply contracts. In his address at Argus, he explained that the Japanese government’s Energy Mix Towards 2030, in which biomass is to account for between 3.7 and 4.6 percent. The policy and regulatory framework is in place with amongst other things carbon reduction goals, an energy conservation law, a feed-in tariff – the only monetary incentive and the Sophisticated Method of Energy Supply Structures that sets the non-fossil share of power to a 44 percent minimum. This would require roughly 12 million to 18 million tonnes of biomass in pellet equivalents, Kusano said.

Sumitomo Corporation, one of Japan’s largest business conglomerates has announced that it has acquired 47.6 percent of the shares of British Columbia (BC) wood pellet manufacturer Pacific BioEnergy Corporation. According to a statement, Sumitomo is seeking to establish a steady wood pellet supply for the long term and thereby help spread and promote renewable energy.

Wood pellets have attracted particular attention in Japan as a means of improving power generation efficiency to achieve the Financial Year 2030 energy mix formulated by the government in 2015.

Founded in 1994, Vancouver-headed Pacific BioEnergy currently markets in excess of 550 000 tonnes of industrial grade wood pellets per annum via its own and affiliated manufacturing facilities and is Canada’s second largest wood pellet manufacturer.

Sumitomo began importing biomass fuel into Japan for power generation in 2008. Biomass fuel is seen as a promising energy source for encouraging wider use of renewable energies in Japan, and Sumitomo has been developing reliable sources overseas to complement domestically-produced biomass fuel.

This includes Cosan Biomassa, a joint venture with Cosan S/A, one of the largest agri-business, ethanol and energy companies in Brazil. Cosan Biomassa is the first company in the world to produce and sell biomass pellets produced from sugarcane straw and bagasse using technology developed by Cosan. The company currently has a 175 000 tonne-per annum installed capacity pellet facility near the city of Jaú in São Paulo.

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