GREBE meets with energy engineering students from Galway – Mayo Institute of Technology

 

GMIT visitEnergy engineering students from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, led by Dr. John Lohan, participated in a study tour to the Aurivo Dairy Ingredients Plant (ADIP) in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon.  A meeting was held at the Northern & Western Regional Assembly where information about ADIP and renewable energy work in the region was discussed.

GMIT at NWRA
Colin Donohue (Optien), Gerry Lavelle (NWRA), John Lohan (GMIT), Katie Wright (NWRA), Pauline Leonard (WDC & GREBE) and Marty Dervin (Aurivo)

Marty Dervin, Energy Manager at ADIP, explained the background of the dairy ingredients plant and their energy management policy. Aurivo is the largest indigenous agricultural co-operative in the West of Ireland with business activities in consumer foods dairy products, dairy ingredients, retail stores, animal feeds and livestock trading.  Aurivo Dairy Ingredients have a strong focus on energy management and are continuously performing energy reduction projects onsite.

One of the most significant projects undertaken to date is the installation of a large scale biomass boiler for the supply of thermal energy for the site. It was revealed that the site was consuming 8 million litres of heavy fuel oil (HFO) every year, and this was replaced with a 12MW biomass plant in May 2014. This provided an opportunity for a long-term, sustainable energy solution for Aurivos dairy ingredients business. The installation of the biomass boiler has delivered a 60% reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions for the site and is a major part of Aurivos commitment to their Origin Green programme.

Colin Donohue of Optien imparted some of his experiences as an energy engineer.  Optien is focused on providing world class mentoring services to their clients to facilitate performance improvement within their organisations, and specialise in complex and energy intensive industries and leverage a data driven approach to facilitate performance improvement.

Pauline Leonard presented information on GREBE and other EU funded projects to the students, and outlined some of the opportunities available to them, whether through accessing EU funded research as part of their studies, or through innovation and entrepreneurship schemes funded by the EU.

Biomass Atlas – a new biomass tool supporting decision making

Biomass Atlas1

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has been leading the development of the Finnish Biomass Atlas, a web-based GIS platform for assessing biomass potentials within freely delineated geographical areas. The platform will be launched in May (in Finnish), the development of the tool will continue together with the project partners.

Biomass Atlas2

Biomass selector allows the user to select the assortments of interest. The data can be hierarchically organized. In this case the first level consists of three alternatives: Land cover, total biomass production and the potential of primary residues. At the second level forest chips have been selected in this example. Finally, the user has chosen the individual assortments: Small trees (harvested as delimbed stems), Logging residues (only spruce, according to Business as usual scenario) and Stumps (only spruce, according to Business as usual scenario).

In addition to basic map tools like zooming, panning and measurement of distances and areas, the user can delineate a polygon for which Biomass Atlas calculates the total of the selected assortments. The results can be exported into an Excel workbook. The results can also be calculated to predefined regions, e.g., to municipalities or provinces.

Biomass Atlas3

The user can identify a location on the map for which the potentials within a distance are added up. The distance can be calculated as Euclidean distance (straight line) or via road network.

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

Finnish Forest Sector Economic Outlook, released by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

luke-13-10-2016

The Finnish forest industry’s production and export volumes, except for paper, will increase over last year’s. Demand is highest for sawnwood, pulp and cardboard. According to Finnish Forest Sector Economic Outlook, released by Natural Resources Institute Finland, the competition will lead to falls in export prices in all main product groups except plywood this year, but prices will stabilise next year.

The consumption of forest chips is expected to grow to around 8.2 million m3

The low prices of fossil fuels and emissions allowances alongside uncertainties about subsidy policy are holding back investment decisions and curbing growth in forest energy use.

The consumption of forest chips is expected to grow to around 8.2 million m3 (solid volumes) this year, with equal figures forecast for next year. Correspondingly, the average purchase price of forest chips at plants in 2016 and 2017 is expected to remain at almost the same level as in 2015. This year, the production of wood pellets in Finland will remain equal to last year’s level, but will increase by a few percent next year.

Lively timber market with moderate price trends

As the use of timber in the forest industry grows, commercial fellings will rise in Finland this year to 59.5 million m3 and to 61.8 million m3 next year. Roundwood imports will rise slightly this year.

The stumpage prices of spruce sawlogs will rise only slightly this year, as demand for spruce sawnwood is good but export prices are rising only moderately. The increasing use of spruce pulpwood in cardboard manufacturing will raise stump prices slightly. The stumpage prices of other timber assortments will fall this year. Next year, the increase in softwood pulp production will increase demand for pine pulpwood and raise its stump price.

In non-industrial private forestry, gross stumpage earnings will rise this year to around EUR 1.7 billion, and to slightly more next year. The operating profit per hectare of private forests will be EUR 110 in 2016 and EUR 115 in 2017.” (Luke News)

The original news article can be found from the news section of GREBE partner Luke under: https://www.luke.fi/en/news/close-to-record-high-sawnwood-export-volumes/

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

awards-banneraurivo-og

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

Expected socio-economic benefits of bio-oil production in a resource periphery

The Finnish GREBE partners, Karelia UAS and LUKE, have assessed the direct and indirect socioeconomic impacts on a local, regional and national economy from forest biomass-based bio-oil production using input–output (I–O) analysis.

The planned fast pyrolysis bio-oil industry project will include two production units (each with the capacity of 90 000 tons of bio-oil) and related sites, a raw material terminal and infrastructures. The annual requirement for the biomass raw materials is approximately 700 000 solid m3, including by-products from the wood processing industries as well as round wood and smaller diameter energy wood. For fast pyrolysis bio-oil production, town of Lieksa has locational advantages, as there are available stocks of wood processing industry by-products (sawn dust, cutter shavings) with a currently limited market.

The analyses shows the potential of a bio-oil factory on the development of the local economy and determined the type of impacts bio-oil production has on population and employment development and on the public municipal economy. The study area is located in a resource periphery far from growing regions and suffers from development problems and stagnating development trends. In terms of employment and income, bio-oil production could have a significant positive net impact on the local economy despite leakages to regional and national economies. The impacts of bio-oil production could enhance the future development prospects for the resource periphery according to positive changes in the net migration and by slowing population losses.

Karelia UAS 01-09-2016

Pie chart from average estimates of the employment (number of jobs) and income (million euros) impacts of bio-oil factory construction and operation present at the local, regional and national levels. Size of the pie shows the scale of the total employment and income impacts of the construction and production periods.

For further information, please contact Lasse Okkonen (lasse.okkonen@karelia.fi), Olli Lehtonen (olli.lehtonen@luke.fi)

“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