• Biomass power plants increasing in Japan

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      Greg Kelsall
112MW Fukushima Iwaki Biomass Power Station

Ceremonies were held in Japan recently for two large-scale biomass power plants, highlighting the increasing development of biomass derived renewable energy in the country.

In the first, the completion ceremony for the 112MW Fukushima Iwaki Biomass Power Station in Fukushima Prefecture was held. The power plant, operated by Able Energy, entered commercial operation on 01/04/2022 and includes investment from Kansai Electric Power Company and Kyudenko. Wood pellets imported from North America are used as fuel by the plant with the energy produced being sold to the Tohoku Electric Power Company. At the ceremony, Yukihide Sato, the president of the company, said that “we aim for operating the safest and most secure power plant in Japan with a strong sense of teamwork.”

Key performance data for the power plant are shown in the table below, where the aim is to reduce CO2 emissions by around 380 ktCO2 according to Kepco.     

Key performance data for Fukushima Iwaki Biomass Power Station
Site Area ~ 5.4ha
Power generation output 112 MW
Amount of electricity sold ~70 GWh per year
CO2 emission reduction ~ 380 ktonnes (based on Kansai Electric Power emission factor of 0.496kgCO2/kWh)
Fuel Wood Pellets (sawmill waste)

For the second, on the same day that the completion ceremonies were being held in Fukushima Prefecture, groundbreaking ceremonies were being held for another biomass plant, this time in Aichi Prefecture. The Tahara Biomass Power Plant will be constructed by Chubu Electric Power Company and Toho Gas, with wood derived biomass again expected to be the primary fuel. Full-scale construction of this plant will start later this year, with operations scheduled to start in September 2025.