As a company dedicated to “Taking Agriculture in Asia into the Future,” plant customer SARA Inc. is dedicated to offering a stable supply of delicious vegetables that can be consumed with peace of mind throughout the year and to achieving reasonable, sustainable relationships with producers, sellers, and consumers. At an enormous reclamation site on Kasaoka Bay in Okayama Prefecture, SARA operates one of the world’s most advanced protected horticulture businesses that combines vegetable cultivation in a 13-hectare semi-enclosed greenhouse which is one of the largest structures of its kind in Japan and a biomass power plant. Here the company grows and ships safe, delicious, and fresh salad tomatoes, paprika, and leaf lettuce that can be enjoyed with peace of mind.
Located in southwest Okayama Prefecture near Hiroshima Prefecture, Kasaoka City is home to the Kasaoka Bay Reclamation Site, one of four largest reclamation sites in Japan.
In this project, the TAKUMA Group came together to help achieve an innovative initiative being undertaken by SARA Inc.
The biomass power plant and combustion gas purification system installed in this project use lumber from nearby regions and imported wood products such as palm kernel shells (PKS) as fuel in a biomass tri-generation plant that supplies three types of energy necessary for facility operation: electricity, heat for heating and cooling use, and carbon dioxide for promoting vegetable growth. In this way, the facility can be operated in a sustainable manner.
TAKUMA and Takuma Technos will provide operational management and maintenance of the facility for 20 years after the start of operation. By deploying the , a proprietary operational support system, and applying expertise from DBO, O&M, and other projects involving municipal waste incineration facilities, it is possible to achieve higher-quality, efficient operation and maintenance management.
Group company Takuma Energy will purchase enough surplus electricity from the facility to fulfill the annual power needs of about 20,000 households, and some of that electricity will be supplied to local kindergartens,daycare centers,middle schools,and other facilities to encourage local consumption of locally produced power.
TAKUMA’s willingness to boldly embrace the challenges of a difficult project and its imagination, proposal skills, and sincerity won our trust, inspiring us to undertake a system that is the first of its kind in the world.
Mr. Takenobu KobayashiCEOSARA Inc.
We spoke to CEO Takenobu Kobayashi of SARA Inc., who played a central role in this project, about how he first encountered Takuma and his subsequent experiences.
In the run-up to the establishment of our company in January 2014, we were hard at work planning to build a large-scale vegetable farm at a reclamation site in the city of Kasaoka, Okayama Prefecture, which we considered a promising site. Our concept included using a biomass power plant to supply the three types of energy needed by the farm, specifically electricity, heat, and carbon dioxide. We met with several plant manufacturers as part of that process and spoke to them about the concept, but only one company indicated an understanding of our intentions and a willingness to embrace the challenges they posed together. I have a strong impression of that company’s frontier spirit, which inspired it to boldly take on a tri-generation project in an unknown area of operations. That impression remains unchanged today.
I knew that TAKUMA had a long and successful track record in biomass plant construction projects, but as we participated in a series of discussions and watched our business plan gain economic viability and stability as a result of TAKUMA’s conceptual and proposal capabilities in the thoroughgoing use of surplus heat and supply of CO2 from combustion gas purification, which were new business domains to them as well, the company earned our trust. We also gained confidence that our concept had a high level of viability. I will never forget how we completed the world’s first system to supply high-quality CO2 by purifying combustion gases through a joint demonstration project with TAKUMA.
Numerous people from different departments participated in the process of gaining an understanding of our concept and developing a variety of proposals to make it a reality, and all of them approached their task with an extremely high level of enthusiasm. It was truly a project that tapped the entire company. Each employee was appealing in his or her own way,and after each meeting I was left with a strong impression that TAKUMA is a trustworthy manufacturer.
One of the reasons we asked TAKUMA to build the plant was that I knew based on that impression that the company would continue to do its utmost in a spirit of good faith in design,construction, and after-sales service after we entered into a contract.
During the design and construction phase after we entered into a contract, each coordinator and site manager offered service in a spirit of good faith, and TAKUMA was able to deliver the plant on time without major incident. The facility continues to operate smoothly today.
Following the delivery of the plant, we entered into a long-term operational and maintenance management (O&M) contract with TAKUMA Group company Takuma Technos. The facility has only just begun to operate, but I trust that we will be able work together to maximize profits from power generation while minimizing running costs.
Additionally, through the power sales business operated by Takuma Energy, we’re able to give something back to the local community together with TAKUMA, including by supplying power to local facilities. I look forward in the future to joining together to create and apply new value through business initiatives and continued exchanges.