Aim High! Japan Revival – Meiken Kogyo

The Local economy is slumping, acceleration of stagnation and depopulation. Abandonment of cultivation is obvious. Farmland has been nearly 30% decrease in the last 20 years, that is evidence that farming people are aging and there are no one who will take over in those occupations.

Forest devastation is also observed in the mountains. The number of sawmills has decreased 60% in the last 20 years. Is that common sense that we cannot stop the decline of the local regions?

Surplus Prefectures are Tokyo, Shizuoka, Osaka, Tochigi, Ibaragi, and Fukuoka. Deficit
Prefectures are Kochi, Nara, Shimane, Akita, Tottori, and Nagasaki. In Kochi Prefecture, electricity, gas, and oil are the big contributors to deficit, nearly 99 billion yen. It is obvious that energy problems have put lots of pressure on local finances. Let’s establish the independence of the local region economically and financially by reviewing the energy problems.

Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture

There has been the sawmill company in Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture which has fulfilled by using all their own. What does it mean? They have power generation by burning wood chips which coming out of when you get lumber. They used to pay 100 million yen per year for their electricity bills, but now theirs becomes zero yen. And also they are making 40,000 yen in a month by electric power selling. Does it mean that oil has been born from the mountains?

Meiken Kogyo (Manufacturing Industry)

Koichiro Nakajima is the president of the Meiken Kogyo. How did he set out to the power generation of the tree? It was because of the adversity called the collapse of the bubble economy in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the era of the bubble economy, the company has managed well thanks to the housing economy. But after the burst of the bubble economy, the company had experienced a financial fall to a deficit side for the first time 1997. He had to think thoroughly how to rebuild the good management once again.

Then, he paid attention to wood chips costing 200 million yen for processing annually. He went to the local bank and proposed that needing some money to make power generation facilities, but his proposal had been rejected. Instead, banks had encouraged their investment in company’s equipment and expansionary vision also had been recommended by the banks.

Koichiro Nakajima is the president of the Meiken Kogyo denied the rate of expansion. He put some efforts to eliminate wasteful consumptions and that finally contributed to the stable management of the company’s finances. He started processing lots of sawdust which cannot be finished for the power generation into the fuel call Pellets from 8 years ago. One kilogram of pellets is about 22 yen. Their sale of the pellets has established the amount of 300 million yen.

Use of the pellets

The use of the pellets has been getting tossed around Maniwa. Elementary schools had been using heavy fuel oil for heating, but the pellet stove had been replaced. Furthermore, the pellet stove had been used at home these days.

Farmers growing vegetables in green house had used boiler, but because of the soaring oil prices they started using the pellets for heating fuel. This contributed cheaper expenses of the full monthly, 80,000 yen cheaper. And there are no price fluctuations of the fuel pellet. The fuel pellets have fulfilled 11% of the city energy of Maniwa.

The spread of the pellets has contributed to the regeneration of forests that had been in slump for many years. Sawmill production alone cannot produce enough pellets, so the use of the left woods had been reused again. The wood processing plants had constructed and that plant had created new job opportunities as well.

This reminds us to think that energy in general is largely affected by the price fluctuations of the global economy. What is going on in Maniwa will be an opportunity to become independence of this global economy relationship.

Gussing in Austria

There is a role model city that people in Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture are learning from. That is the city of Gussing in Austria. What they are learning about being the distribution of the pellets, the development of the pellet boiler technology, and combustion efficiency of the pellets.

There are lots of power plants here and there in the field, in Gussing. The city of Gussing has fulfilled all their electricity by utilizing the power generation for local timber. Those facilities also supply heat energy in the city of Gussing. The boiling water which has been made by the heat from the generation of the power has been provided to each household. How?

The boiling water goes through the pipelines in the basement all over the city of Gussing. That energy has fulfilled 71% of the city of Gussing. Power generation system is owned and operated by the residents themselves. They can get refunded their utility costs if they offer some timbers.

The use of that energy can be self-sufficient and it is worth about 1.3 billion yen. Now Gussing can provide cheap and stable energy continuously. That fact attracts about 50 of companies from all over Europe to Gussing. Tax revenues of the city has been increasing.

Six times as much forest area of Austria in Japan

The city model of Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture has been spreading to nationwide. This model is an ideal for local region where its population has not so much. What do you think?

Gussing Energy Technologies


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