Heat entrepreneurship meeting in Lieksa, Finland

Esa Kinnunen
Esa Kinnunen (Finnish Forest Centre) presenting the socio-economic benefits of the Eno Energy Co-op

The heat entrepreneurs of North Karelia and Savo regions met in Lieksa to discuss the recent development of the sector. The meeting of entrepreneurs and bioenergy developers focused on the work safety aspects, the potential of the solar energy systems integrated in district heating, and the socio-economic benefits of bioenergy.

The importance of the work safety issue was emphasized by presentations on risk assessments, safety issues along the supply-chain and at the heating plant, and on legislation requirements. Practical examples were given on the realised risks – such as deaths in silos – and how they could have been avoided.

Eno Energy Cooperative is a famous example of a heat enterprise positively affecting at the regional economy. Bioenergy and bioeconomy specialist Esa Kinnunen from the Finnish Forest Centre presented the latest socio-economic study of the Eno Energy Co-op. The estimated socio-economic impacts of cost savings (i.e. replacing heating oil with renewable biomass) during the past 15 years have been about 75 jobs and 2.8 MEUR.

The heat entrepreneurs are considering investments on the solar energy systems integrated in the DH plans; technical and economic aspects of the PV and solar thermal were presented by Karelia UAS Renewable energy specialist Kim Blomqvist. Kim also presented the currently open GREBE Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme call for local enterprises in Finland – heat entrepreneurs are among the key target groups of the scheme.

Burning of fresh woodchips – discussion in the Finnish forest energy sector

karelia-uas-wood-chip

In the autumn of 2015, a 10 MW grate boiler plant and a modern flue gas scrubber with a heat pump connection were commissioned at Kauhavan Kaukolämpö Oy’s Kauhava plant. The concept of the plant and operations is based on the burning of fresh woodchips – from harvesting timber through the logistical chain to burning and heat recovery. Based on the operational experience of the past winter, the concept of using fresh woodchips is working very efficiently, providing significant cost savings in the acquisition of fuel to the plant operator. Despite high moisture, the burning of woodchips can be controlled and specific emissions are low. 

As a concept, the burning of fresh woodchips is new and rather heretical. The traditional way to burn woodchips is to store the felled timber on roadsides and allow them to dry before chipping and burning. Practical issues of logistics have also contributed to this model. It can be assumed that the concept of fresh woodchips works efficiently in part because a significant portion of the volatile components contained in timber is included in combustion, rather than allowed to evaporate into air.

The use of fresh woodchips requires a completely new kind of thinking from the plant and logistics. The concept can also be applied to old plants if the structure of the boiler is suitable for burning moist fuel. Fresh fuel also sets some requirements for the fuel storage and fuel supply systems.

An essential part of the system is, however, a flue gas scrubber system that efficiently recovers heat from flue gases, condensing the moisture of the fuel vaporised in the boiler. The scrubber should work reliably and efficiently under all conditions, regardless of the variation in the return temperature of district heating. With a heat pump integrated in the scrubber, flue gases can be cooled efficiently to even below +30°C, making it possible to utilise a significant part of the condensation heat of the water contained in the flue gas. For the purpose of optimising and ensuring the profitability of heat production, a heat pump scrubber has, in practice, been established as the only potential recovery technology for lost heat.

Summarized from article by Mika Nummila: http://www.elomatic.com/en/elomatic/expert-articles/voc-emissions-of-timber-felled-for-fuel-%E2%80%93-a-significant-energy-loss.html

Bioenergy 2017 – The IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference – 9th February 2017

irbea-2017-conference

2017 will be a pivotal year for Ireland’s energy policy; the industry expects clarity by then for roll-out of a Renewable Heat Incentive.  It’s agreed that we need to move towards clean technologies, currently in Ireland we have a renewable market share of 8.7% – Bioenergy contributed to 2% of this. It’s imperative that the Irish government builds an energy policy that allow for greater growth in the Bioenergy sector – this will be under discussion at the IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference.

IrBEA will again have a strong line up of speakers, both international and national, presenting industry models, policy perspectives and investment opportunities to stimulate lively discussion and strong media coverage.  Speakers will discuss their experiences of working in Ireland with the current energy policy framework.  A full agenda for the conference can be downloaded here

Recent budget spending announcements will also be discussed, how would we like to see the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) spend their extra €50m budget or the capital spend of €90m on climate change actions which was announced.

The conference will give delegates and exhibitors an opportunity to network. IrBEA also plan to organise a network dinner after the event around 6.00pm. Organisations interested in sponsoring elements of the conference (whole or parts of) are asked to contact Teresa O’Brien contact@irbea.ie

Register here for Bioenergy 2017

Forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation

forest-biomass-10-11-2016

A new report on “Forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation” has been recently published by the European Forest Institute (EFI) with involvement of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) within EFI´s “From Science to Policy” series.

“World leaders finalized a historic global agreement to combat climate change in Paris in December 2015. They agreed on the need for global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to peak as soon as possible; to achieve GHG neutrality in the second half of this century; and to hold global warming well below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels.”

“A key issue in the debate about the climate impacts of bioenergy is the question of ‘carbon neutrality’: bioenergy systems can influence the cycling of biogenic carbon between the biosphere and atmosphere, but studies sometimes disregard this when estimating GHG balances. In other words they assume that bioenergy systems can be considered neutral in regard to the biosphere-atmosphere CO2 flows.”

“This report provides insights into the current scientific debate on forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation. Its objective is to provide a balanced and policy-relevant synthesis on the issue, taking into account EU and global perspectives. Other societal objectives and interests are briefly touched upon but the focus is on climate change mitigation.”

The link to the series on EFI pages can be found here: http://www.efi.int/portal/policy_advice/publications/from_science_to_policy/fstp3/

Aurivo Co-Operative Society shortlisted for SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards 2016

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Aurivo Co-operative in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon has been shortlisted as Leadership Finalists 2016 in the SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards 2016.  

Aurivo is striving to reduce its impact on the environment through energy efficiency and energy from biomass, with recent initiatives offsetting over 8,000 tonnes of CO2 in the first four months of 2016.  In 2015, Aurivo installed a 15MW biomass boiler which replaced a heavy fuel oil boiler to dry liquid milk.  The plant is the first of its kind in the west and Aurivo became the first large scale milk processor in the country to switch to biomass as a source of energy. Previously the owners used 1 tanker of heavy fuel oil, before installing a biomass boiler which uses c.30,000 tonnes of wood chip per annum.

Auviro is one of four organisations who have successfully progressed as finalists in the Leadership category. These companies have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and ambition in advancing sustainable energy in their organisation or community over a prolonged period.

You can vote for Aurivo here

Finland will attain the targets set by the Paris climate conference if the forest-based bioeconomy evolves

Luke_policy brief_

According to Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) Finland will attain the targets set by the Paris climate conference if the forest-based bioeconomy evolves and attention is paid to the material cycles of wood-based materials. The key is to further develop forest management and utilisation methods that enable using forest-based raw materials, carbon sequestration and preserving forest biodiversity.

Increasing the production and use of woodbased biomass considerably in Finland is justified in order to enable the forest-based bioeconomy. In Finland, forests play a key role in the transition from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based economy. In the future, the end-products of the forest-based bioeconomy will replace products manufactured from fossil raw materials as well as act as long-term carbon sinks. Long-lifecycle products therefore strengthen the climate benefits associated with forests.

Climate change may negatively affect forest health. The changing climate favours pests and other natural disasters. Unmanaged, dense and old forests are susceptible to insect damage and, subsequently, forest fires. In such cases, the carbon stored in the trees is released directly into the atmosphere without providing any opportunities to utilise the biomass.

Luke’s policy recommendation examines the impacts of the growing use of forest and a changing climate on forest’s ability to sequester carbon. When increasing the sustainable use of forests, the diversity of nature and other uses of forests must be taken into account.” (Luke News)

The original news article can be found from Luke´s news section under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/increasing-sustainable-use-of-forests-and-the-carbon-neutrality-targets-of-the-paris-agreement-can-be-combined/

The link to the policy brief publication can be found here: http://jukuri.luke.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/535292/luke_policy_brief_1_2016_eng.pdf?sequence=6

“How to provide bioenergy in the Nordic and Baltic regions? Wood is the future!” – ENERWOODS

LUKE image 23-06-2016

The joint Nordic-Baltic collaborative research project ENERWOODS (wood based energy systems from Nordic and Baltic forests) has now concluded after four years of research and outreach. The project results clearly demonstrate both the leading role of forests and forestry in today’s renewable energy systems, and the large and often overlooked potential for further expanding the supply of wood and woody biomass – both in the short run, but particularly when employing a scope of 2050 and beyond.

It is expected that a 50-100 percent increase of forest productivity at the stand scale is possible. This is a conservative estimate and is viewed relative to today’s most common forest types, and in a sustainable forest management context.

The ENERWOODS project included partners from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Latvia, Estonia and Denmark. The results and conclusions apply to these “ENERWOODS-countries”.

GREBE partner Luke (Natural Resources Institute Finland) had the lead on the Work Package 2 – Forestry logistics. WP2 focused on wood procurement principles and systems optimized towards much higher woody biomass production, long distance transportation and precision supply.

How to provide bioenergy in the Nordic and Baltic regions? Wood is the future!

Why:

  • Wood and woody biomass is already the most important source of bioenergy in the Nordic and Baltic region.
  • Harvesting low-grade wood material can foster an increased biofuel supply in the coming decades.
  • Forests can become more productive, and adaptive to climate change by using well-known silvicultural measures
  • Forests can thereby contribute much more to a sustainable development of our societies towards carbon neutrality by 2050

How:

  • by genetic improvement, introduction of non-native tree species, fast growing nurse trees, fertilization as well as afforestation.

Utilisation and implementation depend on policies and regulations as well as public perceptions of nature conservation, biodiversity, recreation, game management, ground water etc. Diverging interests related to forestry and conservation can be aligned.

The large forest areas and the well-established forest management, forest industry and infrastructure in the Nordic and Baltic regions makes these regions well prepared along all of the value chains to implement the more intensive management if confidence in the profitability can be justified.

Woody biomass is already the largest contributor to our renewable energy systems. An increase of this component is likely to need relatively small additional investments to provide a high impact compared to other alternatives in the renewable energy systems.

Measures needed to reach the potentials of forests and forest management

The region is already in the frontline of replacing fossil energy with renewables. Currently renewables provide 46 percent of the total energy consumed, which is far more than the average EU target of 20 percent by 2020. Bioenergy and waste account for 65 – 97 percent of the renewable energy in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia. Forestry products are the dominant fraction of the bioenergy supply. Unfortunately, statistics do not distinguish between biomass and waste nor the various sources of biomass (forestry, farming, peat etc.).

Logistics

ENERWOODS results indicate that modern logistic systems should be based on larger trucks than now, in addition to the trains and ships that generally are recognized at the most cost and climate efficient means for transportation whenever feasible.

Some of the measures mentioned can be implemented with short notice (fertilization and afforestation). A common rotation length in the region is now typically 70 years – longer under colder climate and shorter under warmer climate, and very much depending on e.g. other site conditions and species. Consequently, a full implementation will take longer than the 70 years.

The ENERWOODS project results can be relevant and find implementation possibilities also in the Northern Periphery regions and GREBE partner countries.

The complete ENERWOODS executive summary can be found through the following link: http://enerwoods.ku.dk/boxes/recommended-reading/ENERWOODS_Executive_summary_v._3.pdf