Hitachi Ltd. said Thursday it has developed a technology to utilize bamboo as fuel for boilers and biomass power generation.
The new technology is expected to address a situation in which unused bamboo forests have been increasing due to decreased bamboo demand, a problem that has become serious mainly in the Kyushu region.
Bamboo, which contains high amounts of chlorine and potassium, can damage combustion equipment or the environment when burned as it is.
The electronics and machinery-maker developed a technology to turn bamboo into a substance as harmless as other biomass fuels with reduced chlorine and potassium densities by crushing the material into particles less than 6 millimeters wide and immersing them in water.
The water immersed with bamboo can be used as fertilizer for plants if condensed, Hitachi said.
Hitachi developed the new technology under a two-year project subsidized by the Forestry Agency and joined by the cities of Yame and Kitakyushu, both in the Kyushu region’s Fukuoka Prefecture.
The new technology can be applied to other untapped materials, including bamboo grass, weeds and cedar bark. Hitachi will consider using such materials in future projects.