Another record in Finland: “Record-high consumption of wood fuels last year”

luke 31-07-2017
Photo: Erkki Oksanen / Luke

Another record in Finland: “Record-high consumption of wood fuels last year”

“In 2016, heating and power plants consumed a total of 19.3 million solid cubic metres of solid fuelwoods, representing an increase of 6 per cent from the previous year, and more than ever before. The total consumption of wood fuels reached an all-time record as well.

In 2016, wood fuels were the most important source of energy in Finland, accounting for 26 per cent of the total energy consumption.

Forest chips used as in the previous year

The most significant solid wood fuel used by heating and power plants was forest chips, the consumption of which increased by one per cent year-on-year to 7.4 million cubic metres.

The use of forest chips in the combined production of heat and power continued to decrease, shrinking by 6 per cent year-on-year to 4.5 million cubic metres, says Senior Statistician Esa Ylitalo of Natural Resources Institute Finland.

However, the use of forest chips in the generation of heat only increased by 14 per cent, to 2.9 million cubic metres. Together with the forest chips burned in small-scale housing, total consumption reached 8.1 million cubic metres.

Small-sized trees the most significant raw material of forest chips

More than half, or 3.9 million cubic metres, of the forest chips consumed by the plants were manufactured from small-sized trees, i.e. pruned small-diameter stems and unpruned small-sized trees. The second most common source, 2.5 million cubic metres, was logging residues. The use of stumps as raw material for forest chips came to 0.8 million cubic metres, and that of large-sized timber, not suitable for the manufacturing of forest industry products, to 0.3 million cubic metres.

The use of solid by-products for energy generation on the rise

Plants consumed 8 per cent more forest industry by-products and wood residues than in the previous year, a total of 10.9 million cubic metres. The main material used in burning was bark, accounting for almost 70 per cent, or 7.3 million cubic metres, of by-product wood. The use of nearly all types of solid wood fuels increased from the previous year. Proportionally, the greatest increase (+31%) was seen in the consumption of wood pellets and briquettes, and recycled wood (+29%).

The consumption of solid wood fuels was highest in the Central Finland region, while most forest chips were burned in Uusimaa and most forest industry by-products and wood residues in South Karelia.

Record-high amounts of wood used in energy generation in 2016

Based on preliminary data by Statistics Finland, the consumption of wood fuels in energy generation was record-high in 2016, a total of 96 terawatt-hours (TWh). Of the total consumption of wood fuels, solid wood fuels of heating and power plants covered 37 TWh, the combustion of black liquor 41 TWh, the small-scale combustion of wood 17 TWh and other wood fuels 2 TWh. Wood fuels were the most important source of energy, accounting for 26 per cent of the total energy consumption.” (Luke News)

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

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/record-high-consumption-wood-fuels-last-year/

Finnish roundwood harvests to a record level in 2016

 

luke 03-07-2017
Photo: Erkki Oksanen / Luke

The total amount of roundwood removed from Finnish forests for the forest industry or energy production was 70 million cubic metres in 2016. The figure was a new record and more than two million cubic metres higher than during the previous year.

According to statistics by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), a total of 62.1 million cubic metres of roundwood were harvested for export or for the production of forest industry products. Of this volume, sawlogs accounted for 26.3 million cubic metres and pulpwood for 35.8 million cubic metres. The total volume increased by 3.3 million cubic metres or six per cent on the previous year. The industrial roundwood removals exceeded the annual average of the previous ten-year period by 9 million cubic metres or 17%.

A total of 8.2 million cubic metres of stemwood were harvested to be used as wood chips in heat and power plants or as fuelwood in residential housing. The volume decreased by 11% on the previous year, but was eight per cent higher than the average of the previous ten-year period. In addition to stemwood, logging residues and stumps were harvested from forests for energy production, totalling slightly less than three million cubic metres.

Volumes of wood to be used as wood chips are now recorded in the statistics on the basis of information reported by harvesting organisations, while in previous years the statistics were based on consumption volumes. This means that the information relating to the area where the forests are located and the right time, similarly to industrial roundwood, says Senior Statistician Jukka Torvelainen of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Total roundwood removals 70 million cubic metres, more than 85% of the maximum sustainable felling potential

The forest land used for wood production has close to 2,200 million cubic metres of roundwood. Luke estimates based on the results of the National Forest Inventory 11 that 81 million cubic metres of stemwood can be harvested in a sustainable way annually in this decade. Of this volume, 70 million cubic metres or approximately 87% were harvested in 2016. However, there was considerable regional variation in the utilisation rate of felling potential. Roundwood removals exceeded the estimated annual felling potential in many regions in Southeast Finland and in Häme. The utilisation rate for spruce was higher than that for other tree species, says Torvelainen.

Roundwood drain increased to 86 million cubic metres

The total annual drain is the combination of roundwood removals, logging residue left in the forest and naturally dead trees left in the forest. In 2016, the latter two totalled just over 15 million cubic metres, causing the annual drain to reach almost 86 million cubic metres. The volume was four per cent higher than during the previous year.

The annual increment of growing stock totals approximately 110 million cubic metres. It thus exceeded removals and natural drain by almost 25 million cubic metres even last year.” (Luke News)

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

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/finnish-roundwood-harvests-record-level-2016/

Key researchers unanimous on the climate impacts of forests use

Finnish climate change panel

“Key researchers unanimous on the climate impacts of forests use”

(Press release of the Finnish Climate Change Panel)

Decision-makers, the media and the public have felt that there are contradictory messages on the climate impacts of the forest use. A new report by the Finnish Climate Change Panel illustrates that key Finnish researchers specialising in forestry are quite unanimous on the central claims related to the sustainability of bioeconomy. Discourse between researchers, decision-makers and enterprises, and the related advanced analyses are still necessary for creating a sustainable bioeconomy.

The Finnish Climate Change Panel surveyed researchers’ insights on the climate change impacts of forest use. Responses were assessed and processed by 28 researchers from the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Jyväskylä, the Finnish Environment Institute and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The process included a joint seminar, two enquiry rounds related to claims, and approval of the document.

The main claims approved by researchers:

  • It is possible to increase wood production with forest management, but it is not possible to significantly increase the net growth of stem wood in the next decades. A significant increase can only be expected in the 2050s and after.
  • Increasing logging and wood harvesting will decrease the carbon sink and carbon storage of Finnish forests for at least forthcoming decades compared to a situation where harvesting is not increased.
  • The greatest climate benefit of wood use can be achieved with long-lasting wood-based products that preserve the carbon content of the wood in use for a long time and replace products that have a high-emission life cycle impact.
  • In the long term, replacing fossil fuels with forest energy will create climate benefits if fossil fuels are permanently replaced, forest lands are maintained and the growth of forests remains unchanged or increases in the future.
  • The model calculations representing the future development of Finnish forests produced to aid political decision-making should be completed with information such as analyses describing the different projected paths of climate change.
  • The goals set for the different ways of using forests – such as wood production, carbon sequestration, conservation and recreational use – compete with each other, so it is unlikely that these goals will be reached simultaneously.
  • A significant increase in forest harvests may lead to a clear deterioration of the forest biodiversity unless the matter is taken into account sufficiently with the practices of forest management and the forest conservation network.

According to the Climate Change Panel, the result provides a good basis for national and international discussion on the role of Nordic forests in EU policy on climate and bioeconomy. The climate-smart use of forests is an important part of creating a low-carbon economy. So that the path will be consistent and sustainable, bioeconomy decisions must be based on scientific data.” (Luke News)

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

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/key-researchers-unanimous-climate-impacts-forests-use/

The link to the report “Main Messages from researchers concerning the climate impacts of forest utilization” can be found here: http://www.ilmastopaneeli.fi/uploads/selvitykset_lausunnot/Ilmastopaneeli_mets%C3%A4v%C3%A4itt%C3%A4m%C3%A4t_final_englanniksi_%202017.pdf

 

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.

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/

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/

The GREBE Project participates in Irish Bioenergy Association Study Tour to Denmark

Pauline Leonard, GREBE Project Coordinator, had a very successful and enjoyable trip to Denmark with GREBEs Associate Partner, the Irish Bioenergy Association.  Representatives participated from a broad range of sectors including Irish biomass boiler manufacturers, Coillte, private forestry and farming interests, pellet producers, representatives from Údarás na Gaeltachta, and other government agencies focusing on building sustainable rural energy projects. 

Brewery Vestfyen was our first site visit, here they have shifted from oil to local biomass sourced from residual wood in the Danish forestry and sawmill sector. 2 boilers running on 700,000 litres of heating oil each year have been replaced with a 40 bar 4MW boiler from Focus BioEnergy running on P45 wood chips since January 2015 with a yearly consumption of 10,000 m3. The brewery has a yearly production of cans and bottles containing beer and soft drinks exceeding 120 million units. Biomass is tipped into two 100 m3 containers and transferred to the boiler by auger. Biomass is sold to the customer by the gigajoule of energy delivered and payback is less than 2 years as a result of a government incentive to encourage the switch to renewables.

In the afternoon we visited the town of Stoholm which has a district heating system common to many small towns (780 houses) we met a company which designs, sells and installs bio-fuel boilers. This particular plant was a 1MW pellet boiler and provided the heating and water for all the houses in the town during the summer months, in the winter months a larger capacity gas boiler kicks in to meet the peak load demand. On Friday we travelled to Sonder Omme District heating plant which provides heating for housing and industry (pop. 1700). It is a fully automated system using woodchip, Anders Hjørnholm from Danstoker brought us around the plant the boilers here was manufactured by his company, he said it was a typical build in Denmark.

We visited a second 5.5MW district heating plant in Grindsted where we were accompanied by Peter Larsen from Justsen who specialise in biomass boiler system installations. Finally last stop was Danstoker fabrication workshop, a large aircraft hangar full of boilers at different stages of construction, ranging from sub 1MW up to 20 MW.

It was a very informative trip and good contacts were made.  It was impressive how Denmark take renewable heat seriously and provides targeted incentives to underpin investor confidence in the sector. It is a model we would like to see here in Ireland. There are so many energy intensive businesses in the Irish food, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors who have a global ambition to become carbon neutral through reducing emissions and using resources more efficiently. It is widely recognised that our State and the emerging private forestry biomass resource can play a key role in delivering on this ambitions.