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Ngày đăng: 10:48:22 20-04-2017

1. What are Wood Chips?

Wood chips are a medium-sized solid material made by cutting, or chipping, larger pieces of wood.

2. Usage of Wood Chips

Wood chips may be used as a biomass fuel and they are raw material for producing wood pulp. They may also be used as an organic mulch in gardening, landscaping, restoration ecology, bioreactors for denitrification and mushroom cultivation.

Recently, wood chips have been drawing attention as an alternative to fossil fuels, and its utilization has expanded to a thermal energy source and a raw material for synthetic liquid fuel production.

3. Wood Chips for pulp and paper manufacturing:

Initially, Japan import a large of woodchip which used are for pulp and paper making industry, accounted for 90%.

Pulp and paper manufacturers want to increase domestic supply of wood chip since imported chip cost is climbing but competition with biomass power generation facilities is getting hard for wood chip procurement so paper companies would rather rely heavier on imported wood chip.

Actually in the first quarter of 2014, imported wood chip was 2,850,000 tonne, 10.1% more than 2013 while domestic procurement was 1,200,000 tonne, 0.6% more. So the share of imports exceeds 70%.

4. Wood Chips for firing

In 2011 the Japan Wood Pellet Association created the Wood Pellet Quality Standards to serve as a preventative measure for problems deriving from these fuels. Then in 2014 the Committee to Promote the Use of Wood Biomass Energy formulated the Quality Standards for Fuel Wood Chips and put these into operation. Establishing standards on the fuel side makes it possible to avoid combustion problems caused by an excess of moisture, as well as fuel supply problems caused by variations in the shape of the fuel.

Demand and supply

Exporting of woodchip, of which a majority is Acacia, has steadily gone up the past five years. The two major destinations have been Japan and China, with Taiwan and South Korea accounting only for about 10% of total shipments.

The total volume of imported wood chips in 2013 was 11,014,788 tonnes, 1.1% less than 2012 but because of sudden depreciation of the yen and higher export prices by the suppliers, total value increased to yen 217,960,525, 7.8% higher than 2012.

Average cost of imported wood chip climbed to yen 19.16 per kilogram. This pushed up the cost of not only chemical pulp but also wooden board.

In total imports, hardwood chip took 87%. By source, 2,230 M ton from Chile, 2,160 M ton from Vietnam, 1,810 M ton from Australia, 1, 010 M ton from South Africa, 860 M ton from Thailand, 840 M ton from Brazil.

After FIT system (energy purchase system with fixed prices generated by renewable resources) started in July 2013, there are many projects of wood biomass power generation and many plans to start up in 2015 so that movements to purchase and collect wood resources for fuel have started in everywhere.

So far, majority of demand of wood chip has been paper and pulp manufacturing then biomass wood chip for power generation is totally new demand. Right at this moment, there is no place where wood chip supply is tight and the prices soar but locally wood biomass wood chip prices exceed that for paper manufacturing.

To prepare biomass wood chip demand, there are movements to collect low grade logs for fuel and to bring in portable wood chippers into the woods to produce wood chip for biomass generation.

Japan is planning to increase its power generation from renewable sources by 50pc to 141.4TWh in 2020, equivalent to 13.5pc of total generation. It also tentatively predicted that renewable power output will reach 214TWh by 2030, or 21pc of the total. Solar power generation is expected to increase the most, rising 15 times from current levels to 57.2TWh in 2030. Biomass will post the second-largest increase, rising a fivefold increase to 21.7TWh over the same period.

Accordingly demand of wood chip for paper manufacturing increases. Housing starts were active last year and sawmills were busy for lumber production, which generated more residue, which helped production of wood chip. Thus far, there is no panic of wood chip supply and demand. However, there are many biomass power generation facilities start up, supply shortage will come for sure.

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