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Japan’s Forestry Agency is considering building biomass power plants that can use timber from the thousands of houses that were destroyed by the massive 11 March tsunami.
Senior vice minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries Takashi Shinohara said, "Initially, wooden debris will be used for power generation and when it becomes financially viable, wood thinned from forests will be used," Kyodo news agency reported.
The Forestry Agency noted that the earthquake and subsequent tsunami created 25 million tons of debris from houses alone, with roughly 70 percent of it wood and even excluding waterlogged debris there are still 5 million tons available.
Critics are questioning the financial viability of the idea. Miyuki Tomari of the Biomass Industrial Society Network said, “It's good so long as there is debris, but that is after all a stopgap,” noting that of the country’s 144 timber-based biomass plants, "Many are struggling after having failed to eke out a profit."
The Forestry Agency is considering building five plants adjacent to timber processing factories, including those slated for reconstruction from the tsunami. Takashi Shinohara, senior vice minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said, "Initially, wooden debris will be used for power generation and when it becomes financially viable, wood thinned from forests will be used."
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com