Renewables project aims to continue EES in North Karelia

BlogThe Finnish Forest Centre and Karelia UAS have applied for a project, Renewables – Sustainable Energy Economy in North Karelia – from the Rural Development Programme. The project continues on from the successful work of regional Power from Biomass project, completed in June 2018, and the GREBE project ending this month.

The Renewables project will support the establishment of micro clusters in renewable energy, especially based on biomass (wood and biogas). The project will continue the GREBE service, Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme, by organising tailored mentoring for 8 rural businesses in 2019-2021.

The Renewables will work for the regional renewable energy by supporting the development of biogas production, establishing and supporting the cooperation between energy entrepreneurs especially in firewood supply, introducing new innovations to reduce fine particle emissions, and supporting rural enterprises in sustainable product and service development.  The Renewables will have much benefit from GREBE project results, providing vast knowledge base on renewable energy technologies and supports.

The Renewables supports micro clusters of RE enterprises. Their cooperation aims can be e.g. in establishing joint raw material procurements, joint investment projects, or development of new products/services. In GREBE the EES Service and mentoring process provided successful results in a number of cases. The piloted process has proven to be effective and can be replicated with new participants. The funding applied, can be based on Innovation vouchers (2019) and ERDF funding targeted for enterprises.

The Renewables is scheduled to start in January 2019, and is coordinated by the Finnish Forest Centre. The project will organise active collaboration with international renewable energy research and development, such as starting NPA project Handiheat.

Technology/Knowledge Transfer Cases

Chipper

One aim of the GREBE project is to promote knowledge sharing and information exchange between actors in renewable energy supply and demand. Transnational sharing of knowledge is a key element of GREBE and special focus of working package 7 in order to facilitate transnational effective knowledge transfer and collaboration in the RE business sector. Two more case reports are now available on the transfer of technology and knowledge in the NPA:

Ecohog – Technology for the waste and recycling sector

Ecohog Ltd. is a family owned equipment manufacturer located in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Although a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), Ecohog is operating in a global scale and have over 20 years’ experience supplying equipment to the waste and recycling sector.

Worldwide, there is a greater focus on minimising waste, reducing landfill waste and recycling in general. Therefore the need to integrate efficient waste separation and processing technology is a growing global concern. Also in Finland, the recovery of waste has become increasingly important. The technology transferred to Finland provides an alternative to manual sorting which is both exhausting and expensive. The technology allows customers to incorporate air separation into new or existing processing configurations that experience contaminates in the materials.

This is available on the GREBE Renewable Business Portal: www.renewablebusiness.eu and can be downloaded here: Ecohog – Technology for the waste and recycling sector

Innovative Hybrid Chipper for Forest Chip Production – a theoretical technology transfer case study

This report is about the innovative hybrid chipper for forest chip production and is a pure theoretical technology transfer case based on a simulation study using input data from the literature.

Several parameters to improve knowledge towards the transferring of the technology and applying it in other partner regions were the focus of this study on an innovative hybrid technology chipper. The focus was on the knowledge on fuel supply costs and supply system requirements for this technology in order to supports market access of new technology and to reduce the risks relating to long-term performance and costs for such technology through the used method. The method used was discrete-event simulation with the simulation of one year performance.

This is available on the GREBE Renewable Business Portal: www.renewablebusiness.eu and can be downloaded here: Innovative Hybrid Chipper for Forest Chip Production

All technology and knowledge transfer cases are supporting the activity towards a guideline supporting enterprises in introducing new to market energy solutions.

Supporting the transnational transfer of knowledge and technology, the Renewable Business Portal provides a platform to demonstrate the full potential of the renewable energy (RE) sector and showcase innovations in RE technology.

Advice Notes on Biomass CHP Economics for the NPA Region

Biomass CHP

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GREBE-Advice-Notes-biomass-chp-2.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

 

Combined heat and power (CHP) is a method that delivers both heat and power on site in a single, highly efficient process, normally over 80% efficiency. CHP creates electricity and as a by-product of the generation process it produces heat. Wood biomass is fed into the CHP system similar to a normal biomass boiler and the produced gas is then fed to an engine which is connected to a generator generating electricity while the heat produced, can be fed into a heating system. Below is a map showing the productive forest potential in relation to the total area of the country. Biomass is the world’s fourth largest energy source, contributing to nearly 14% of the world’s primary energy demand.

Small scale (<100kW) and micro-scale (<15kW) biomass CHP are particularly suitable for applications in commercial buildings, such as hospitals, schools, industrial premises, office building blocks, and domestic buildings. Optimum system design and implementation is crucial for cost-effective operation and it is established that the best economic performance come about with high load factors when the maximum amount of both electricity and heat sold on-site is maximised.Untitled

A reliable feedstock supply chain is vital for the economic viability of a CHP system. Fuel costs are central since when considering the levelled cost of electricity and heat production, ongoing running costs far outweigh capital investment. CHP systems and specifically the ones smaller in scale necessitate fuel of the highest quality and have very low moisture content, wood chip/pellets between 15% and 30% moisture content. Thus, it is imperative before considering investment in a biomass CHP system to ensure that the right fuel can be sourced locally.

Advice Notes on Anaerobic Digestion Economics for the NPA Region

AD

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/GREBE-Advice-Notes-AD.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is the breakdown of organic material by micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen. The term AD commonly refers to low-temperature biological conversion, with the resulting product (biogas) typically being 60% methane and 40% CO 2. AD technology uses vacuum-packed digesters in which a bacterial culture is sustained in anaerobic environments that stimulate the production of methane. Many forms of feedstock are suitable for AD; including food waste, slurry and manure, as well as crops and crop residues. AD produces biogas, a methane-rich gas that can be used in different ways:

  • In an internal combustion engine or turbine to generate electricity, and heat
  • Combustion in a boiler for process steam or hot water
  • Combustion in process equipment
  • Cleaned, compressed and injected into the natural gas grid
  • Cleaned, compressed and used as a road transport fuelAD 2

In addition to biogas the AD produces residual solid fibre and, also known as digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser, depending on the nutrient value of the digitate. Thus, it may have additional value in some circumstances.

Advice Notes on Wind Technology Economics for the NPA Region

Biomass

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/GREBE-Advice-Notes-Biomass.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

The economics of a biomass system are governed by the capital cost, the biomass fuel cost, the offset fuel costs and the incentives available. The capital cost of a biomass boiler is dependent upon the size, fuel type used and level of automation of the system.

Biomass is the world’s fourth largest energy source, contributing to nearly 14% of the world’s primary energy demand. The most common fuel is wood, which can be supplied in three forms; logs, chips and compressed wood pellets. However, biomass energy also includes energy crops, food waste streams, agricultural residues, industrial wastes and residues which can be used for heating in certain, specific circumstances. A range of biomass boilers are available, in sizes to suit homes, small businesses, community buildings through to large hospitals and industrial processes. A reliable feedstock supply chain is vital for the economic viability of a biomass boiler system.

Fuel costs are central when considering the levelled cost of electricity, since ongoing running costs far outweigh capital investment. Thus, it is imperative before considering investment in a biomass boiler system to ensure that the right fuel can be sourced locally. Economic benefits of biomass include relatively inexpensive resources; locally distributed energy sources provide constancy and reliability, price stability and generation of employment opportunities in rural communities. Risks included price volatility and availability of feedstock.

Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships in small forest-based local heating energy businesses – outcomes from the MADIE project

LUKE1LUKE2

The MADIE project published a booklet which highlights the economics and organizational aspects of small local heating energy supply schemes set up in rural regions as a market-driven business by their owners for earning them a profit and, apart from private self-interests, for promoting the social claims of their stakeholders.

The booklet tells about the Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships, especially in small forest-based local heating energy businesses. Start-up entrepreneurs and their partners need inspiration and guidance in how to establish and operate their business successfully. Besides technical and market information, for starting and organizing a business, multifaceted upfront information is needed. Here, decisions as to the legal form, ownership, liabilities, participation rights and selecting the right partners, are crucial for the continuity of the business. There is a need for arguments that help persuade stakeholders about the legitimacy of the business and related social benefits.

The booklet addresses, among others, forest owners, rural entrepreneurs and their public stakeholders. Policy makers have been attracted by a business model that meets the triple bottom line: by offering an attractive return to investment, providing support to renewable energy transition, and creating jobs and income in rural economies. Co-operatives have been able to demonstrate to be a convenient participatory model of organizing joint business activities.

The booklet, with its focus on renewable energy co-operatives, contributes to the outcomes of the MADIE-project, an initiative supported by the European Union’s Erasmus programme, which offers a comprehensive range of views on multifunctional agriculture as a driver for innovation in rural Europe.

MADIE is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and coordinated by the German Starkmacher e.V. with partners Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE, Finland), County Governor of Hordaland (Norway), NAK Nonprofit Kft. (Hungary) and Terre di loppiano srl (Italy).

The booklet “Co-operatives and forest-based heating entrepreneurship in a rural setting – the Finnish experience” can be found from here or from the library at https://www.ruralacademy.org/contents

The booklet is available in English and also in Finnish (as summary report from the English version).

Information gained during the MADIE project are beneficial also for the GREBE project and are supporting the activity towards a guideline supporting enterprises in introducing new to market energy solutions.

Technology and knowledge transfer cases

Knowledge Sharing - Page 4

Transnational sharing of knowledge is a key element of the GREBE project and special focus of working package 7 in order to facilitate transnational effective knowledge transfer and collaboration in the RE business sector and to promote knowledge sharing and information exchange between actors in renewable energy supply and demand.

Two case reports are currently available on the transfer of technology and knowledge in the NPA:

Nordkraft – Northern energy expertise

Nordkraft is an energy group focusing on development, production and distribution of renewable energy. In addition, the group has power sales and other energy-related businesses. The business focuses on planning, construction and operating hydro and wind energy plants.

The energy business model of Nordkraft includes business operations in energy infrastructure planning, development, construction, operation, maintenance and trade. The focus on establishing and operating the systems, and avoiding or sharing the capital investment risks, provides growth opportunities. The long-term emphasis on local expertise and business diversity provides permanent jobs in the sector supports the local socio-economic development.

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GREBE-Technology-Transfer-Nordkraft-Northern-Energy-Expertise-February-2018.pdf

Knowledge sharing expert sessions with SME´s

The GREBE project arranged a possibility for the transfer of knowledge within the Northern Periphery area by hosting expert sessions with SME´s, associations and land owner representatives in the sector of renewable energy supply and demand. The sessions were part of the GREBE project meeting events hosted by the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council from 6th – 10th November 2017. Two experts, Saija Rasi and Veikko Möttönen from the GREBE partner organization Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) were available to the participants for one-to-one meetings on Wednesday 8th November.

Knowledge on two main topics were shared between the experts from Finland and SME’s:

  1. Biogas production and utilization possibilities in rural areas
  2. Further processing of sawn wood and side streams

The experts were also available during a networking event for businesses from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland giving the opportunity to engage with one another or opening up the possibility of joint working opportunities in the future.

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GREBE-Knowledge-sharing-expert-sessions-with-SMEs-March-2018.pdf

Further technology transfer cases are currently under development supporting the activity towards a guideline supporting enterprises in introducing new to market energy solutions.

Support the transnational transfer of knowledge and technology, the Renewable Business Portal provides a platform to demonstrate the full potential of the renewable energy (RE) sector and showcase innovations in RE technology.

GREBE publishes its eight project e-zine

Ezine No8 Front Page

The GREBE Project has published its eight e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

Since December we have continued to carry out the project activities and meet our objectives. Our 8th partner meeting in Kokkola was hosted by LUKE & Karelia UAS, and included a visit to the Vaasa Energy Week for attending SME’s. The aim was to highlight the benefits of renewable energy for SME’s and start-up businesses, and also give participants the opportunity to meet with biomass experts from the Natural Resources Institute in Finland. Details can be found on Page 3.

The two case reports on the transfer of technology and knowledge in the NPA have now been completed and further details are on Page 4. We also have details of the 5.2 Report (Advice Notes) on Page 7. Details of both can be found on the publications page of our website http://grebeproject.eu/publication/.

The GREBE Industry Advisory Group (IAG) held its third annual meeting in Finland and was organized by LUKE. Further details are on Page 3. The Environmental Research Institute held an important workshop for the further development of Orkney’s Hydrogen Economy. Details can be found on Page 5. We also have an update of EES in partner regions on Page 8.

We have a number of upcoming events and will hold our final partner meeting in Thurso in Scotland in late May. We will hold our final conference ‘Local opportunities through Nordic cooperation’ in Thurso on Thursday 24th May 2018. Details can be found on Page 9. Action Renewables are holding a GREBE conference in Belfast on Thursday 21st June and details can also be found on Page 9.

Heat Entrepreneurs’ meeting, April 4th Kontiolahti, Finland

KUAS

Annual meeting of the Finnish Heat Entrepreneurs in North Karelia was organised by the Finnish Forest Centre in April 4th Kontiolahti. The event focused on the energy wood markets and current development challenges, new harvesting method trials, drying of wood by using excess heat of energy plants, and socio-economic impacts of local heat entrepreneurships. After the meeting, participants had a visit to the Kontiolahti 1.5 MW heating plant equipped with a 7.6 kW solar power system.

Adjunct professor Yrjö Nuutinen from LUKE introduced latest research on the new corridor thinning method. The method – with 1-2 thinning corridors harvested in different formations – has been earlier applied in Sweden, US and Canada. Now the corridor thinning is studied and tested for pine dominated first thinning stands in Finland, aiming that it will be a generally accepted thinning method and it fulfills the forest management requirements of Forestry Centre.

The latest results on the socio-economic impacts of Eno Energy Cooperative were presented by GREBE partner Dr Lasse Okkonen from Karelia UAS. The total employment impacts of the Eno Energy Cooperative in 2000-2015, were approximately 160 FTE’s and total income impact in the same period about 6.6 MEUR. During the period of highest oil prices, over 50% of the benefits resulted from heating cost savings of both private households and public sector.

Bioeconomy expert Urpo Hassinen, from the Finnish Forest Centre, presented the latest results on the firewood drying by utilising excess heat of the heating plants. There was potential, especially when existing infrastructure could be utilised. Drying of woodfuel could also compensate the decreasing heat demand resulting from closure of public estates in rural areas.

CEO Janne Tahvanainen presented the market outlook from an industry perspective. The market fluctuations, caused by the weather challenges in last summer and autumn, as well as varying imports from Russia, were discussed. Weather challenges were considered a most important factor affecting current markets. For instance snow damages have increased harvesting volumes in northern part of North Karelia, and moist summers and autumns have affected biomass drying. Impacts of weather conditions on RE markets are being further investigated through the GREBE project during this spring.

Bioenergy is thriving in Akureyri

Electric Car

Renewable energy, including bioenergy, is thriving in the town Akureyri, in northern Iceland, with the community actively moving in the direction of carbon neutrality. The energy transition team at Orkustofnun visited Akureyri in order to look into the current status of renewable energy in transport and in utilization of biomass in the Eyjafjörður Area, northern Iceland. Orkustofnun’s branch in Akureyri was visited, and Guðmundur H. Sigurðarson, Managing Director of Vistorka, presented the company’s activities and the status of these issues including achieving carbon neutral society in Akureyri.

Several charging stations for electric cars are available for use in Akureyri and some of them where visited. The stations are owned and operated by ONNorðurorka and Rarik. Vistorka received funding from the Energy Fund for development of infrastructure for electric cars which will result in 11 electric charging stations in the North of Iceland. Most of the projects described below have been funded by the Energy Fund as well as supported by Orkusetur.

The compost company Molta was visited, where organic waste is collected from homes and companies in the Eyjafjörður Area and beyond for compost production. Production of biodiesel from animal waste is planned at the facility. The company Orkey was also visited, where biodiesel is produced from waste cooking oil. The biodiesel is used in buses in Akureyri, on fishing vessels and in asphalt production. The aim is to increase production by adding animal waste as mentioned previously. Methane is currently produced from the old landfill in Akureyri and “harnessing” of the manure in the Eyjafjörður area is on the drawing board to further increase methane production to fuel 2-3000 cars per year.

The use of electric bikes by the employees of Norðurorka is also of interest, as electric bikes are relatively inexpensive, convenient in a hilly and windy environment and use a renewable power source. In winter the bikes’ studded tyres are well suited for icy conditions as well as the on-board lighting system is important for safety in the darkness of the Arctic winter. The energy transition team at Orkustofnun has many irons in the fire these days and are gathering ideas that help accomplish Althingi’s action plan regarding energy transition. In order to meet such goals, it is clear that applying well-known and successful methods and technologies are important. Orkustofnun, Orkusjóður and Orkusetur will continue to support projects in the field of energy transition throughout the country.