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Japan Considers Converting Disaster Debris into Biomass Power

The massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan has left the country with 25 million tons of debris (about 70 percent of it wood) just from homes, according to Japan’s Forestry Agency, which is proposing to build five biomass power plants.
By Rona Johnson | August 12, 2011

The massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan has left the country with 25 million tons of debris (about 70 percent of it wood) just from homes, according to Japan’s Forestry Agency, which is proposing to build five biomass power plants.

The agency has suggested that the plants be built adjacent to timber processing plants and that they provide power and heat. Proponents say that will make the plants more economically viable than if they just produced power.

Although the debris won’t be around forever, Japan has a timber industry and the article says the plants could potentially reinvigorate the forestry industry.

“Initially, wooden pieces of debris will be used for power generation and when it becomes financially viable, wood thinned from forest will be used,” said Takashi Shinohara, senior vice minister for agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Proponents of the project are now looking for money to build these plants.

In other news:

International Bioenergy Days will be held Sept. 26-29 at the Näcken Convention Center in Lidköping, Sweden. The conference covers three tracks: politics and society, heat and power, and biofuel for vehicles. The conference, which is organized by the International Renewable Energy Technology Institute, features several tours including a farm with combined heat and power (CHP) from biogas production, a demonstration of CHP from a microturbine with biogas from a wastewater treatment plant, a small-scale pellet mill and a district heating system in a hotel. There are also tours of facilities producing biofuels. To find out more about the conference, visit the website at www.bioenergydays.com.

President Obama’s top environmental policy adviser was in John Day, Ore., on Tuesday to meet with local officials and tour forest and biomass businesses.

Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Jay Jensen, associate director for land and water ecosystems for CEQ, toured a forest restoration site, Ochoco Lumber Co.’s biomass plant and the pellet fuel heating operation at the Grant County Regional Airport to see firsthand how the federal and county governments, conservation groups and industry can work together to create jobs by developing the local renewable energy market.    

Hopefully the visit proved that forest restoration and biomass-based energy can coexist and be mutually beneficial.

2 Responses

  1. Richard

    2011-08-18

    1

    So now we see the environmentalist jumping on board the liberal agenda. I do believe biomass is the future but in grasses not wood. Grass pellets will supplement coal power plants. Lets see the environmentalist cry about deforestation. Check Viaspace they have a biomass Giant King Grass that will soon be known.

  2. Parthena

    2011-08-25

    2

    I was so confused about what to buy, but this makes it unedsrtadnable.

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