Engineer Forum (Inssiforum) 2017 in Lahti, Finland

Karelia UAS 27-03-2017
A vision for development of bioeconomy engineer studies, Tapani Poykky (HAMK)

Lahti University of Applied Sciences organised the Engineer Forum 2017 in March 22nd-23rd at Sibelius Hall, Congress and Concert Centre. The annual event of engineer education organisations, engineers, industry and other stakeholder partners is this year among official Finland 100 year events.

The GREBE partner, Karelia UAS was responsible for organising the bioeconomy themed parallel session at the event. The session had focus on the impacts of the bioeconomy and bioenergy at the regional and local economy, and training and expertise development opportunities. About 30 attendants in the session discussed on the ways to promote bioenergy at the local level – topic introduced by the Karelia UAS lecturer and GREBE partner Lasse Okkonen and Admin Manager Urpo Hassinen from the Eno Energy Cooperative.

The latest development of the bioeconomy specialization studies was presented by Tapani Pöykkö, ‎Director of Regional Development in Bioeconomy and Natural Resources at Häme University of Applied Sciences, HAMK.  The approach he presented for the Bioeconomy Engineer studies was multi-disciplinary and knowledge-based. The open UAS studies in bioeconomy were presented by lecturer Anne Poutiainen, Karelia UAS, followed by engineer student Katja Keronen describing her expectations for future career in this field.

GREBE Policy Workshops in 2017

Finland Policy workshop
Michael Doran of Action Renewables

Action Renewables is the lead partner for Work Package 3 on Policy and Funding Mechanisms, within the GREBE project.   Part of this work package is to organise policy workshops in each partner region. To date Action Renewables has participated in five policy workshops.  Since the start of 2017, there have been three workshops in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Finland.  The purpose of these workshops is to involve and support stakeholders within the renewable energy sector.

During the workshops we discuss the advantages / disadvantages of local policies for that area and discuss how they can be improved to help the economy. The policy workshops will involve representatives of relevant bodies and Government departments that set the renewable energy policy agendas.  Each policy workshop has been different.  The reason for this, the conditions within each country are different and they are different policies.  All of the policy workshops were chaired by Michael Doran and Mark Corrigan of Action Renewables.   Our Norwegian partner Narvik Science Park which hold a policy workshop in April and it is our intention all will be completed before June 2017. We will then have a list of potential new policy mechanisms which will support different partner regions.

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland policy workshop was hosted by South West College at their Dungannon campus on the 11th January.   For this workshop we had 10 representatives, who came from different sectors throughout Northern Ireland, including the Department of Environment, Invest NI, Fermanagh Omagh District Council, Fermanagh Enterprise and the Ulster Farmers Union.

This policy workshop focussed on the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland and the lack of new policy development, and how this will have an impact on the economy.  Northern Ireland will have no policy supports for the sector after the 31st of March 2017.

Scotland

Action Renewables chaired the Scotland policy workshop on the 26th January.  This workshop was organised by the University of Highlands & Islands and was held in Inverness.   For this policy workshop, we had the privilege of four guest speakers

  • HWenergy provided an “Overview of current renewable energy policies and constraints”,
  • Scottish Enterprise on “The solutions that exist within Highland & Island Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise”,
  • Local Energy Scotland, on “Community participation in RE” and
  • Community Energy Scotland on “Communities constrained by the existing policies”

Scotland are very advanced on policies that support the renewable energy sector.  To date Scotland have 18 policy mechanisms, which support the sector and is a popular area for wind and hydro.  Many of their support mechanisms are for SMEs looking to enter the renewable energy industry.

Finland

Finlands policy workshop took place in Joensuu on the 9th February.   Finland is mainly focused on its forestry sector, so therefore biomass is their main focus.  At the policy workshop we had 12 participants from a variety of different sectors. We also had the honour of the following guest speakers:

  • Regional Council of North Karelia – Presenter Anniina Kontiokorpi outlined how they are preparing an implementation plan (roadmap) for North Karelia to achieve ambitious aims established in their Climate and Energy Program.
  • Mayor Asko Saatsi from the City of Nurmes – In Nurmes, bioenergy projects (bio refineries) are essential part of local development strategy.
  • Mika Juvonen, CEO/Bio10 Ltd. – Mika Juvonen has established organic waste treatment/biogas plant in Kitee.  He has been actively informing policies and been able to reduce barriers identified in sector.

Finland – probably the most sustainable forest bioeconomy in the world

LUKE 13-03-2017
Photo: Erkki Oksanen

“You probably know already that 12 percent of Finnish forest area is today protected by environmental and ecological reasons. But did you know that forestry has brought to Finland €229 billion export revenues since 1995? You know that we have such a strong populations of moose, bear, and wolf that we need carefully to hunt them in order to maintain the balance and harmony between their prey and people living in forests.

But did you know, that since year 2000, timber sales have brought €24 billion of revenues for ordinary private citizens, who owns over 60% of all Finnish forests. Every fifth Finn owns forest area or has forest owner in his/her family, which spreads the income nicely to remarkable number of ordinary people throughout the country. Forestry also offers numerous working opportunities for people living in rural areas; this has also been always an important part of social sustainability.

Despite of the remarkable economic impact of forest industry and intensive wood use, we have more trees in our forest than ever before.

If you have been in Finland, you know that we have a lot of forests and trees. But did you know that despite of the remarkable economic impact of forest industry and intensive wood use, we have more trees in our forest than ever before. Nowadays there are about 80 billion trees and both the number of trees and total volume of forests are growing even if we increase our annual use of forests from the current level. This increased growth of forest means more carbon from air bound into trees and into the forest products replacing fossil based materials. Good for climate and climate targets.

You may know that we did large clear-cuttings in 1950’s and 1960´s when we were building the basis of our society. At that time we introduced intensive forest management practices based on monocultures and large units. But did you know that those large clearcuttings are now nice mixed-species forests again, our forest management is certified and biodiversity has been promoted for decades by introducing more diverse harvesting.

If you know some other country, in which renewable forest resource has equal importance for the economy and which has done things better than we have, please, bring it in! We want to benchmark it and to be better in the future.

Forests are tremendous source of sustainable welfare and wellness and we want to keep it that way – forever. (…)” (Luke Blog Posts).

The original blog post can be found from the blog section of GREBE partner Luke under: https://www.luke.fi/blogi/finland-probably-the-most-sustainable-forest-bioeconomy-in-the-world/

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

Growth Open (Kasvu Open) provides growth support for 450 SMEs in 2017

prosessikaavio-en-final

The name of the competition combines two words “Kasvu”, which means growth in Finnish, and “open”, summarizing the idea of the competition being open for every type of a company and for any expert willing to share own knowledge on a pro bono basis.

Kasvu Open is the largest project for sparring growth-oriented companies in Finland. In this competition, companies have an opportunity to present their growth plan to number of experts free of charge. As a result, companies will have a clarified growth plan, enlarged network of growth venture experts and potential investors in the country.

In 2017 over 900 experienced managers will meet 450 small and medium size companies for a total amount of time exceeding 4550 hours. Following the main goal of Kasvu Open, hundreds of experts offer their knowledge and skills on a voluntary basis. Kasvu Open gathers growth professionals, investors and other partners into one solid network, which supports the attending companies.

Although first defined as a competition, Kasvu Open does not aim at competition for the titles. It builds a platform where entrepreneurs introduce ideas, test them, receive feedback, polish their plans and try to solve problems together with the experts. Anyone can participate in Kasvu Open, regardless of the scale of growth or goals.

Karelia UAS key partner in North Karelia, Bio10 Ltd. attended at 2016 Growth Open achieving Fast Track Bio Citation Award. Bio10 was established in 2007 to treat organic waste and produce biogas based energy and both organic and conventional fertilisers. In addition, the company provides expertise and training services in biogas, waste treatment and recycling.

Winter climate change might have a negative effect on forest growth and productivity

luke-08-12-2016

“According to an experiment conducted in Luke, denser snowpack or lack of snow cover due to warmer winters could have a major impact on forest ecosystems. Winter climate change might have a negative effect on forest growth and productivity that could partially counteract the positive growth effects predicted due to increasing summer time temperatures.

Winter warming is expected to affect snow cover in boreal forests by increasing ground ice encasement, snow compaction or even events of complete lack of snow cover. Of these predicted changes ice encasement appeared to be the most harmful winter conditions to Scots pine and Norway spruce seedlings. These effects could influence forest regeneration with important implications for boreal forest ecology and the associated economy such as forest regeneration costs. (…)” (Luke News)

The Original news article can be found from the news section of GREBE partner Luke under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/winter-climate-change-might-have-a-negative-effect-on-forest-growth-and-productivity/

From the GREBE perspective, the GREBE project is looking at the Influence of Environmental Conditions in NPA & Arctic Regions, a recent report can be found from the project´s website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/GREBE-Report-on-the-Influence-of-Environmental-Conditions-in-NPA-Arctic-Regions.pdf

Finlands Energy and Climate Strategy 2016

karelia-uas-24-11-2016

Finland’s long-term objective is to be a carbon-neutral society. This challenge is particularly great in the energy sector. Approximately 80% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Finland come from energy production and consumption, when energy used for transport is included.

The Finnish government has set ambitious national targets on renewable energy in its program. Finland is committed to EU’s 2030 energy and climate targets and will continue increasing use of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency even though no national binding targets are set after 2020.

According to the government program, Finland will ambitiously increase use of renewable energy and energy self sufficiency in 2020s. The main focus is on the promotion of bioenergy and advanced biofuels for transport.

Preparations of a new national energy and climate strategy has been started. This work will be finished by the end of 2016. In this work, all the relevant ministries are involved. The main industry sectors, stakeholders and citizens are involved in investigating and preparing future policy options.

The energy and climate strategy determines ways to reach the ambitious energy targets set in the government program. The energy and climate strategy is also a part of the work that is done for preparing Energy Union’s National Energy and Climate plan and it will indicate how Finland is going to reach the EU’s 2030 targets for renewable energy, energy efficiency and also EU effort sharing.

The following targets in the government program will be thoroughly considered when developing the national energy and climate strategy. In addition, uncertainty caused by future EU decisions on biomass sustainability and state aid rules for energy and environmental aid will be assessed.

  • The use of emission-free, renewable energy will be increased in a sustainable way so that its share will rise to more than 50 % by the end of 2020s and the self-sufficiency to more than 55 %, also including peat.
  • Coal will no longer be used in energy production and the use of imported oil for the domestic needs will be cut by half by the end of 2020s.
  • The share of renewable transport fuels will be raised to 40 % by 2030.
  • Finland will create new support programmes for renewable energy. Aid will be based on technology neutrality and ranking of economic priorities

More information: petteri.kuuva@tem.fi and strategia2016@tem.fi