Life Cycle Assessment of Power Generation from Imported Woody Biomass Fuels

  •  Noriko Nishihara    
  •  Lisa Ito    
  •  Leticia dos Muchangos    
  •  Akihiro Tokai    


With the promotion of woody biomass power generation in Japan, wood fuel imports have increased yearly. However, the environmental impact of the transportation process is expected to increase compared to procuring the fuel domestically. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the environmental impact of biomass power generation using imported woody fuel. Human health, ecosystem, and global warming were evaluated using the life cycle assessment (LCA) method under four scenarios: three scenarios for importing woody fuel and one scenario for procuring woody fuel domestically. The results reveal that replacing heavy oil with liquefied natural gas (LNG) or ammonia as ship fuel at the time of importation could reduce the environmental impact to the same level or up to 86% compared to the case wherein wood fuel is procured domestically. Thus, using next-generation vessels to import wood fuel and generate biomass power effectively reduces environmental impact. Furthermore, the use of wood fuel—a renewable energy source whose generation can be adjusted—should be promoted toward achieving carbon neutrality.

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