Forests cover two-thirds of Japan’s land area, and woody biomass is attracting attention as one of the most promising renewable energy sources in the country. The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Act came into effect in 2012, and since then, woody biomass power generation has spread rapidly. Gasification power generation, which can generate electricity on a relatively small scale, has attracted a lot of attention. However, the technical issues of this technology remain poorly defined. This paper aims to clarify the problems of woody biomass gasification power generation in Japan, specifically on the challenges of improving energy utilization rate, the problem of controlling the moisture content, and the different performance of power generation facilities that uses different tree species. We also describe the technological development of a 2 MW updraft reactor for gasification and bio-oil coproduction to improve the energy utilization rate. The lower heating value of bio-oil, which was obtained in the experiment, was found to be about 70% of A-fuel oil. Among the results, the importance of controlling the moisture content of wood chips is identified from the measurement evaluation of a 0.36 MW-scale downdraft gasifier’s actual operation. We discuss the effects of tree species variation and ash on gasification power generation based on the results of pyrolysis analysis, industry analysis for each tree species. These results indicate the necessity of building a system specifically suited to Japan’s climate and forestry industry to allow woody biomass gasification power generation to become widespread in Japan.
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