Janne Uutela from Rajaforest Ltd (left) and Juha Määttä from Spiralia Ltd in a mentoring session.
Karelia University of Applied Sciences is implementing a pilot mentoring programme for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. Mentoring will take place from January 2018 to April 2018 for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. The mentoring will provide the companies with suggestions for production process development, new business and product ideas and ways to develop their company as a whole.
Mentoring is not so common in Finland as it is in, for example, Ireland so the experiences of GREBE’s Irish partner form a basis for this mentoring process. Karelia launched an open call for companies in spring 2017 and received an expression of interest from three companies: Eno Energy Cooperative, Havel Ltd and Rajaforest Ltd. The current situation, needs and wishes for the mentoring process were discussed in 2017 and the tendering process for the mentor was made in late 2017. Mentoring includes 12 individual meetings with the mentor.
The mentoring takes place in a rather short timeframe, from January to April 2018 and is performed by Juha Määttä from Spiralia Ltd. The topics discussed so far in the mentoring sessions have included current challenges of the companies. They are looking into the strategic choices for the future, implementation of a development project and developing the production process. All companies have openly brought forward challenges and problems in their activities and the dialogue between the mentor and mentee (company) has been active in searching for alternative solutions. The mentor has proposed several optional solutions, which will be developed further in the coming months.
More information on the outcomes will follow in May 2018.
The GREBE Industry Advisory Group (IAG) contributes towards dissemination of GREBE outputs and learnings among their wider networks, including at local, regional and national policy level where possible. The third annual meeting was organized at LUKE, Metla-talo Joensuu on Thursday 22th of February 2018. Finnish GREBE project partners updated the IAG on the project developments, outcomes over the last year and presented GREBE deliverables (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its business mentoring in Finland through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).
The third IAG meeting was the last meeting of the GREBE IAG with representatives from the renewable energy SMEs, research and education, business development companies, regional authority and agricultural producers and forest owners union. The IAG discussed on how to disseminate the final deliverables, cooperate with future activities and how GREBE activities can most effectively be implemented in practice, based on their own experience of working in or supporting the renewable energy.
Following the GREBE IAG meeting, the regional Poveria Biomassasta project hosted a local workshop with over 20 participants at the same premises on energy business including IAG representatives, entrepreneur enabler scheme participants and other stakeholders from the field. The workshop focused on bioenergy business models and experiences of entrepreneurs in the business area with a main topic on heat entrepreneurship and biogas delivery. The event was targeted for farmers and possible heat entrepreneurs as well as other interested stakeholders.
Eno Energy cooperative is an internationally acknowledged example of heat entrepreneurship based on a cooperative model. Substituting fossil fuel oil with locally produced woodchips in community heating since the year 2000 has resulted in significant socio-economic benefits. Latest research by GREBE partners Karelia UAS and LUKE outlines these through a time-series analysis.
The Eno Energy Cooperative operates and owns three district heating plants producing 15,500 MWh of heat annually and uses approximately 27,000 loose cubic metres of locally produced woodchips. The impacts of the Eno Energy Cooperative were modelled by using an input-output model of North-Karelia, including 33 sectors. The impacts presented are total impacts including construction of heating plants in 2000-2004, production of heat by using locally produced woodchips, and impacts of reduced heating costs (savings) in both public and private sectors. Induced impacts are captured by including household consumption as a sector in the I-O model, and re-investing public sector savings to the social services.
According to the I-O modelling, total employment impacts of the Eno Energy Cooperative in 2000-2015 were approximately 160 FTE’s and total income impact in same period were approximately 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.
The results indicate that socio-economic impacts may be generated by using different types of strategies, such as utilising business models of social enterprises with re-investment strategies, or cooperatives providing use for the local resources and reducing the energy costs both in private and public sectors.
Currently, Eno Energy Cooperative are participating in the GREBE Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (EES) roll-out in North Karelia. They are investigating future business and cooperation opportunities together with business a mentor from Spiralia Ltd., Lahti.
Figure1: Employment impacts (FTE jobs) of Eno Energy Cooperative in 2000-2015, including impacts of construction, heat production and heating cost savings (when re-invested).
Figure2: Income impacts of Eno Energy Cooperative in 2000-2015, including impacts of construction, heat production and heating cost savings (when re-invested).
The first Ökofen Pellematic Condens_e CHP-unit in Finland has been installed to Sirkkala Energy Park at Karelia University of Applied Sciences. The nano scale CHP (combined heat and power) unit produces energy with a condensing pellet boiler and an integrated Stirling engine. The whole unit requires only 1.5m² of floor space. The CHP unit is installed as part of Sirkkala Energy Park’s hybrid energy system that produces heat and electricity for Energy Park and for two elementary schools. This CHP unit is already connected to Fronius Symo Hybrid inverter, which will be connected to a small array of Panasonic HIT pV -panels. When battery storage is added to this system it will be a true standalone system.
Ökofen Pellematic Condens_e CHP-unit is designed for 6mm pellets, but it will run with 8mm pellets. The unit has a nominal thermal output of 9kW and 600W of electricity, but it can modulate the production between 3-13kW thermal and up to 1kW electricity. Unit size is ideal for single houses and requires only a little maintenance, just some brushing and vacuuming for pellet boiler and heat exchangers. The Stirling engine is nearly maintenance free.
With the Pellematic Condens_e it is possible to generate electricity and heat for your own consumption. Economically, at least in Finland, the electricity generated should primarily be used at home and only the excess available electrical energy should be fed back into the public electricity grid.
The Integrated Microgen Stirling engine produces AC power at 50Hz from the thermal energy the pellet boiler produces. The electricity production is based on a thermal gradient, so the efficiency is dependent on the temperature difference of returning water flow from the hydraulic heating circuit. The cost of the unit is approximately €23,000, excluding the possible requirement for hydraulic components or larger-scale fuel storage.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council hosted a meeting of the GREBE project in the week 6th – 10th November 2017. This meeting, the 7th Partner meeting took place on Tuesday and Wednesday and culminated in a networking event for those businesses who engaged with the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland, and brought them together with a number of businesses from the Republic of Ireland.
The following partners were in attendance:
Western Development Commission – Ireland
Action Renewables – Northern Ireland
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council – Northern Ireland
University of the Highlands and Islands – Scotland
Natural Research Institute LUKE – Finland
Karelia University of Applied Science – Finland
Narvik Science Park – Norway
Icelandic Centre for Innovation – Iceland
An important aspect of this event was also the involvement of two experts from Finland who were available to the participants for one-to-one meetings, Veikko Mottenen and Saija Rasi. These meetings were positively received and the speed networking event afforded all of those who attended the opportunity to engage with one another, opening up the possibility of joint working opportunities in the future. The high-energy event was facilitated by Ruth Daly of Sort-IT and was enjoyed by all.
After the networking event, the group attended a Chairman’s reception in Enniskillen Townhall, followed by a social event when the networking continued.
Thursday saw the group visit a number of sites to see the range of activities within the area in the Renewable Energy sector. Site visits were facilitated by the CREST centre at South West College in Enniskillen, an associated partner in the GREBE project, Balcas, who are a major supplier of fuel to the Renewable Energy sector and finally to Ecohog, based in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone, whose machinery is built locally and is sold across the globe and has been making significant inroads into the Renewable Energy sector.
The GREBE Project is organising a networking workshop and site visits in Enniskillen on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th November 2017. We would like to invite stakeholders from Northern Ireland and Ireland in the renewable energy sector to participate in this event.
The aim is to highlight the benefits of renewable energy for SMEs and start-up businesses and give participants the opportunity to meet with biomass experts from the Natural Resources Institute in Finland (https://www.luke.fi/).
Veikko Möttönens area of expertise is wood mechanical properties, drying of wood and sawn timber, further processing of sawn wood, further processing of side streams, wood modification (thermal modification – Thermowood, preservative impregnation) and Saija Rasis area of expertise is in bioenergy production, biogas technology, gas analysis, treatment of biodegradable wastes, biorefineries. Places are limited for one to one meetings with Veikko and Saija.
GREBE Project partners from Finland, Norway, Iceland and Scotland will be available to share their knowledge. Participants from the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme (both SMEs and mentors), and other renewable energy businesses will attend and are happy to share their experiences.
On Thursday 9th November, site visits will be held at the CREST Centre in South West College, Balcas and Ecohog (an Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme participant).
The Regional Council of North Karelia and Karelia University of Applied Sciences organised Eastern Finland Bioenergy Days in 26th-27th of September. Seminar covered policy and business developments of the sector, and excursions headed to the renewable energy demonstration at Sirkkala Energy Park (Karelia UAS), Eno Energy Cooperative and John Deere Forest machine manufacturing.
The seminar programme included presentations and discussions on the sector development, especially on latest policy development in climate and energy, ie. legislative proposal to integrate greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use-change and forestry (LULUCF) into the 2030 climate and energy framework. The potential impacts of the prepared legislation to the Finnish forestry, bioenergy sector and their carbon emissions were discussed in several presentations. The Finnish discussion and controveries experienced are deatailed in a blogpost by the University of Eastern Finland.
The excursion to the Eno Energy Cooperative included company history, forest supply chain practices, socio-economic impacts, and the latest investment on 21 kWe Solar PV. The Solar PV system was installed by a local company, Mirotex ltd., and it was part of the joint procurement process together with 4 other energy enterprises in the region.
The Eno Energy Cooperative shares actively good practices through the networks of heat entrepreneurs both regionally and nationally, and is also know reference site for international visitors. The EEO is one of the three EES (Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme) roll-out companies in Finland and will receive targeted mentoring support during the third year of the project.