Mitsubishi, Reykjavik Energy expand geothermal ties

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Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Reykjavik Energy of Iceland said Thursday they will jointly develop geothermal energy projects, particularly in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Mitsubishi, the world's top producer of geothermal power equipment, and Reykjavik Energy, which also has geothermal power operations, hope to package their products and market them in developing countries.

The two companies will also jointly develop a new, renewable synthetic fuel in Iceland by using carbon dioxide and water, said Ichiro Fukue, Mitsubishi Heavy senior executive vice president.

Less developed nations have faced difficulty launching geothermal power plants, which traditionally required separate firms to identify locations for projects, to build facilities and to operate the power plants.

"We will offer services as a total package to under-developed countries, including funding, digging, construction and provision of operational know-how," Fukue told reporters.

"We hope this will help promote geothermal energy development," he said.

Already, several African and Latin American countries as well as Indonesia and the Philippines have expressed interests in the two firms expanded cooperation, Fukue said.

The two countries have conducted various businesses together since 1978.

Under their new agreement, Reykjavik Energy will find countries and regions to start geothermal power plants, while Mitsubishi will provide facilities and tools to start the projects.

Reykjavik Energy will also operate the power plants and provide business know-how to customer countries, Fukue said.

Mitsubishi and Reykjavik Energy said they hope to capture 50 percent of the global geothermal market in 2014, although they did not offer specific business targets, such as sales figures.

The two firms had no immediate plan to market their products in Japan.

Iceland generates roughly 70 percent of its power needs from renewable sources, mostly geothermal and hydro power plants.