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2017 June 02

Biomass development in Japan: A key sector with rapid growth potential

World Bioenergy Association in partnership with Renewable Energy Institute (REI), Japan has conducted a successful Bioenergy Mission Trip to Japan during 22nd – 25th May 2017. The mission trip included two conferences, a study trip and annual meetings:

May 22nd: In the morning, WBA visited the office of Renewable Energy Institute and held interesting discussions on development of bioenergy in Japan. The issues discussed included development of pellet market in Japan, policies including FiT and Carbon tax and efficiencies of biomass utilization. In the afternoon, WBA and REI co – organized an international symposium: ‘Bioenergy as a strategy for a decarbonized economy – latest findings from the European trends’. The event was opened by Victoria Forslund Bellass, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden and Remigijus Lapinskas, President of WBA. The session had interesting presentations about latest trends in the bioenergy policy and technology from European countries. The day ended with a reception held at the Swedish Embassy in Japan.

May 23rd: In the morning session, WBA attended a meeting with delegates from Liberal Democratic Party in Tokyo to give presentations about successful biomass development to members of parliament. WBA also visited two locations utilizing biomass: Saku General Hospital:  A new biomass heating system was installed in a general hospital in Saku City, 70 km south east of Nagano City. The hospital installed a wood chip boiler to provide hot water to the hospital. They cited reducing carbon dioxide emissions and utilization of local resources as key strategies in their decision to switch to biomass. Ilzuna Biomass plant: The biomass power plant in the midst of a mountain close to Nagano City has two boilers with capacities of 1.3 MW and 1.5 MW producing electricity using wood chips. They also produce pellets from grasses as fuel for the power plant. The heat is partially utilized for room heating and drying of biomass feedstock.

May 24th: As part of the International Wood Fair (IWF), Nagano City, WBA co – organized a conference: ‘Woody biomass transforming the local energy system – learning from global experience’. The opening session included speeches from WBA Board Member Mika Ohbayashi and President Remigijus Lapinskas. WBA Senior Consultant Heinz Kopetz had a keynote speech informing the audience about the Austrian experience in developing bioenergy.

May 25th: WBA held its annual meetings – General Assembly, Steering Committee and Board Meeting nr. 38. A new board was elected during the day with two new board members: Ben Moxham (Enviva, UK) and Alarik Sandrup (Lantmannen, Sweden) joining us. Board Member Laercio Couto was elected as a Vice President (Latin and South America). Interesting discussions ensued throughout the day on development of WBA and bioenergy in general.

The whole event was successful largely due to the excellent organization capabilities of REI. Japan has significant forest potential in woody biomass. With high FiT, biomass to electricity sector is increasing. Based on the discussions during the study tour and the conferences two issues have emerged: Biomass for electricity generation and the improvement of the forest management. These issues will be elaborated in the official WBA Bioenergy Mission Report.