The second supplementary budget for fiscal 2011 contains funds for the Forestry Agency to research using the massive amount of wooden debris generated by the March 11 disaster as fuel for biomass power generation, it has been learned.
Passed in the Diet on Monday, the budget includes about 100 million yen for examining the possibilities of biomass energy production. Using debris would kill two birds with one stone–clearing away wreckage and generating electricity.
In the third supplementary budget, which will contain significant spending for disaster reconstruction, the agency is seeking about 10 billion yen in subsidies for building power plants, and aims to establish five or six in disaster areas.
However, a number of issues remain, including the unstable supply of raw materials.
The agency predicts that of the about 19 million tons of wooden debris believed generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami, about 5 million tons could be used as fuel.
However, Fusao Nishizawa, head of the Biopower Katsuta biomass power plant in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, predicted all the wooden debris created by the disaster would be used up in two to three years.
Tokyo Institute of Technology Prof. Takao Kashiwagi said that in addition to using debris, “timber from forest-thinning should be collected and supplied to woodchip producers, thereby linking [biomass power generation] to the rejuvenation of forestry as well.”
Woodchips can be used as biomass fuel.
(Jul. 26, 2011)