Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

November 24, 2002


Outline on Japan's National Strategy of Biomass Utilization Announced

Keywords: Climate Change Ecosystems / Biodiversity Government Reduce / Reuse / Recycle Renewable Energy 

On July 30, 2002, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan unveiled its outline on the National Strategy of Biomass Utilization, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport and Ministry of the Environment, reflecting the opinions of an advisory group. Coming from animals, plants, microorganisms and organic waste, biomass can provide such useful products as energy, biodegradable materials, livestock feed and compost.

The strategy is based on the recognition that the National Strategy of Biomass Utilization as energy and products is essential to help prevent global warming, establish sustainable society, utilize biomass abundantly found in farm, mountain, and fishing villages, and nurture new competitive strategic industries.

Although potential biomass resources are abundant in Japan, biomass has not been utilized effectively because it is difficult to collect and efficient conversion technologies are still underdeveloped. Out of 91 million tonnes of annual livestock excretions, about 80 percent is converted mostly into compost. As for food waste, about 90 percent of the 20 million tonnes generated annually is incinerated and buried, and less than 10 percent is used, converted mostly into compost and livestock feed.

As for wooden waste and unused wood, most waste material from lumber mills (about 15 million cubic meters) is reused, but most of the wood waste from forests (including wood from thinning the forest and from damaged trees) is not utilized (about 10 million cubic meters). Nor is about 60 percent of construction-related wood waste (about 12.5 million cubic meters), a figure that is likely to increase in the future. Practical uses of the wood waste include utilization as raw material (pulp for paper manufacturing, bedding for livestock, etc., accounting for about 60 percent) and direct use as fuel for combustion (about 40 percent).

As for sewage sludge, about 42 percent of annual generation of 73 million tonnes is buried, and the remaining 58 percent is utilized as construction material and compost. About 78 percent of the total of 620,000 tonnes of effluent sludge generated each year from agricultural communities is incinerated and buried, and most of the sludge utilized otherwise is used as compost.

Since statistical data on biomass flow in Japan is not consistently or accurately collected for production, consumption and disposal, the creation of standard data collection methods is urgently needed. Japan's Guideline of Measures for Promoting Efforts to Prevent Global Warming aims at generating 330,000 kW of electricity (equivalent to 340,000 kl of crude oil) using biomass by 2010, a six-fold increase over 1999.

Posted: 2002/11/24 07:30:42 AM
Japanese version