By Rubina Obaid
” The Japanese government took the initiative of securing “energy forests” for specifically growing sources of woody biomass power generation. Currently, Japan is using biomass fuel which is derived from the thinning of forests and the branches which have been removed for preparing the lumber for the building materials.”
The pressure to curb carbon emission worldwide through sustainable renewable energy alternatives, woody biomass holds a special place for contributing significantly. The potential has been recognized globally along with the introduction of innovative technologies for an efficient supply chain management system. Biomass is one of the most effective means of the prevention of global warming because it offers a perfect balance between the amount of carbon dioxide emission and its sequestration. However, due to the greater amount of moisture content in woody biomass the volume of the heat in less as compared to coal, therefore, efficient combustion methods have been introduced to convert biomass into electrical energy.
Thus, the Japanese government took the initiative of securing “energy forests” for specifically growing sources of woody biomass power generation. Currently, Japan is using biomass fuel which is derived from the thinning of forests and the branches which have been removed for preparing the lumber for the building materials. Using forests exclusively for obtaining biomass is expected to be labor efficient while cutting the silviculture cost by one third, as the work of thinning forests will be redundant. The process of power generation through biomass is not dependant on the weather, which means that it can serve as a reliable source of baseload power.
The shift towards renewable energy and woody biomass for power generation would also improve the resources of power while increasing self-sufficiency. As mounting oil prices and limited energy supply greatly influenced the economic growth which gave emergence to the alternative energy sources. There are numerous advantages to having biomass energy in Japan instead of having reliance on foreign countries especially for electricity supply which is getting increasingly difficult to transfer. The energy is recyclable even if it is generated by photosynthesis of the plant. It is taken in the time of reproduction and the emission of CO2 is rebalanced by the biomass.
Various effective reactions can be administered to biomass by putting heat and pressure. The most common is the thermochemical conversion that includes the method of gasification, carbonization, and liquefaction. Even if the gasification is done on a small scale to gasify the fuel cell, micro gas turbine, and the gas engine, it makes possible a highly effective power generation. The use of fast-growing trees are generally used as building material in place of Japanese cedar could yield up to 2.5 times the harvest. The Agency of Natural Resources and Energy and the Forestry Agency set up jointly an expert group to explore the viability of woody biomass power generation project. However, sustainable forest management and reforestation will remain a challenge. Presently, 17 percent of Japanese electricity generation is through renewable sources such as solar and wind power. Japan is trying to reach the climate neutrality targets by reducing 26 percent of the greenhouse gas emission by 2030 from the previous level in the year 2013 but it is still facing further pressure to set more ambitious climate goals.