Press Releases


September 26, 2018

Japan's Largest Vertical Dry Methane Fermentation Facility was Completed Ready for Start of Operations from October 2018
~Kurita will expand proposals of Kurita DRANCO PROCESS, which achieves more than double the biogas production of existing technology, to both industrial and municipal waste treatment facilities~

Under "MVP-22(Maximize Value Proposition 2022)", the medium-term management plan that was launched in this April, Kurita Water Industries Ltd. (Head Office: Nakano-ku, Tokyo; President: Michiya Kadota; hereinafter "Kurita") is focusing on creating shared value with society, identifying "Solve issues related to water resources", "Realize sustainable energy use", "Reduce waste" and "Advance industrial production technologies" as priority issues.

Fuji Clean Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Ayauta-gun, Kagawa; President: Kazuo Baba; hereinafter "Fuji Clean"), a specialist in the treatment of industrial waste, recently finished building facilities using Kurita's vertical dry-methane fermentation technology, Kurita DRANCO PROCESS, that will help "Realize sustainable energy use." Operations are scheduled to begin from October. The facilities will make effective use of biogas produced from industrial waste and municipal waste through methane fermentation as fuel for power generation and boilers, and digestate will be treated incineration facilities. The reactor is Japan's largest vertical, dry-methane fermentation reactor (3,000m3) and Fuji Clean expects adoption of the technology to have the effect of reducing CO2 emissions by 10,000 tons per year.

Based on these results, Kurita will seek to expand application of Kurita DRANCO PROCESS to both industrial waste and municipal waste treatment facilities (waste incineration facilities). There are around 1,100 waste incineration facilities in Japan and around half of these are small and mid-size facilities (with a processing capacity of less than 100 tons per day) (*). Waste incineration facilities recover energy by using exhaust heat from incineration to generate electricity and many large facilities with a processing capacity of 100 tons or more per day generate electricity. However, small and mid-size facilities are unable to generate electricity using a steam turbine due to the small amount of exhaust heat produced and therefore only around 4% of facilities generate electricity. Raising the energy recovery rate has become a social issue. Also, while it was possible, even for small and mid-size facilities, to recover energy with the existing methane fermentation technology, there were restrictions on the acceptance of waste paper which is a raw material and plastics which are not suitable for fermentation.

In contrast, the Kurita DRANCO PROCESS makes use of its features as the first vertical, dry methane fermentation technology to be applied in Japan and can accept diverse waste ranging from garbage and waste paper from households, food waste and used paper from office to organic residue and industrial waste, enabling stable biogas production even at small and mid-size facilities and higher levels of energy recovery than with the existing technology. Since it can achieve production of around 150Nm3 of biogas per ton of waste, biogas production capacity is more than double that of the existing wet methane fermentation technology.

In the future, for local government upgrade and improvement projects involving small and mid-size waste incineration facilities, Kurita will strengthen proposals of "methane combined treatment," which involves collaborating with incinerator engineering manufacturers to build methane fermentation facilities at waste incineration facilities to combine efficient recovery of energy from waste with the disposal of residues of fermentation at waste incineration facilities. Moreover, through initiatives for the effective use of recovered energy as a source of electricity and heat both within facilities and at a regional level, Kurita aims to promote the widespread use of waste biomass and help realize a sustainable society.

  1. (*)The number of municipal waste treatment facilities (waste incineration facilities) in Japan and the percentage of facilities that generate electricity are based on Waste Disposal in Japan (FY2016) published by the Ministry of Environment in March 2018.

<Supplementary Materials>

■Outside view of facilities delivered to Fuji Clean Co., Ltd.

Vertical, dry methane fermentation facilities
(with gas holder for storing biogas in the foreground)

Dry methane fermentation reactor

High efficiency waste separation equipment

Biogas power generation facilities
(CHP: Combined Heat and Power)

■Features of Kurita DRANCO PROCESS, dry methane fermentation technology

  1. (1)Biogas can be recovered constantly from all kinds of biomass, including garbage, food waste, paper, livestock manures, and rice straw and grasses, which have high fiber content.
    The recovered biogas can be used for electricity and heat.
  2. (2)Vertical dry methane fermentation enables stable treat of waste paper which has low water content and was difficult to treat with existing methane fermentation technology.
  3. (3)High-efficiency waste separation equipment is used for pre-treatment to remove material that is not suitable for fermentation, thus increasing the biomass recovery rate.
    Even if waste contains material that is not suitable for fermentation such as plastic fragments (less than 5 cm long), processing is not affected.
  4. (4)The vertical fermentation reactor will save space. The structure of the fermentation reactor is simple, and there is no stirring and heating equipment. Thus maintenance of reactor is not necessary.
  5. (5)Residues after fermentation have low water content, and no dewatering equipment and waste water treatment equipment is needed.