Tokuyama to produce black pellets in Japan; utilising Dutch tech

Tokuyama to produce black pellets in Japan; utilising Dutch tech

Japanese petrochemical producer Tokuyama plans to build a 500 kg/hour demo plant to manufacture black pellets in south Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture, targeting to complete construction by October 2025.

Tokuyama says that it would introduce technology from Yilkins Drying Solutions B.V., a venture company based in the Netherlands, and construct a pilot plant for the development of black pellets at Tokuyama’s facility.

The black pellets are made by heating biomass under low-oxygen conditions to produce the properties of thermal coal. Generally, the energy density is said to be about 20% higher than that of ordinary wood biomass (white pellets).

The fuel will be used for Tokuyama’s in-house power generation. The firm will import feedstock biomass from southeast Asia. It does not have any plans yet to produce or sell black pellets on a commercial basis.

Tokuyama operates the 300MW Shunan coal and biomass co-fired power plant in Yamaguchi with real estate agency Tokyo Century and trading house Marubeni. The companies set a goal to raise biomass co-firing rates from 20 to 50% by using white and black pellets by March 2026. But Tokuyama declined to disclose if its pilot black pellet plant will contribute to increased co-firing at the Shunan power plant.

Japanese energy firm Idemitsu also targets to produce 3mn t of black pellets at its plants in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and the US by 2030, tapping domestic demand growth with the trend towards decarbonisation. Idemitsu aims to supply the pellets to domestic coal-fired power plants.