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Hitachi Zosen to build waste-to-energy plant in California

Company sees opportunity in calls to reduce landfill burden

OSAKA -- Hitachi Zosen will become the first Japanese company to enter the biogas power generation business in the United States next year, transforming food waste into energy.

The facility will be built in San Luis Obispo County, California, and cost $22 million. It will collect, process, and compost 30,000 tons of household and farm waste per year, with the emitted methane powering the 730kW plant. The generated electricity will be sold to 600 nearby households through a local energy company.

In the U.S., 70% of waste is dumped in landfills, leading to demands for waste management that has less impact on the environment. The U.S. plant will be Hitachi Zosen's latest venture after others in Japan and Europe.

Hitachi Zosen will set up a special purpose company for the project by the end of March. The Japanese company will invest 20% of the total capital and also raise funds from general investors. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation and a private-sector lender will contribute $12.4 million in joint financing.

Hitachi Zosen is planning to operate the facility for 20 years. The company seeks to secure two deals a year, including sales of its power generators, with a focus on opportunities in California and the Northeast.

(Nikkei)

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