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.
The GREBE Project has published a report based on case studies on the awareness and understanding of funding for renewable energy businesses. The report can be downloaded from the GREBE Website here
The key objective of this report was to identify and promote opportunities for policy to provide an effective supportive framework for sustainable renewable energy business (both new and emerging). The focus of this report was on the support and benefits that each case study received, including how the supports and benefits helped each business in terms of creating employment, finance or diversifying their business. This report examines the funding mechanisms, criteria, application practicalities and business outcomes and innovations in the case studies.
When carrying out the report, the most popular funding mechanisms available to the renewable energy businesses were research & development supports and also financial supports. In Ireland one company received a support towards creating employment through the JobsPlus scheme. JobsPlus is an employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities. On the other hand support mechanisms such as social support, were not as popular throughout the partner regions.
Through analysing the chosen case studies, Finland, Iceland and Scotland have a number of different funding mechanisms were available to companies for certain types of projects, whereas in Northern Ireland only one type of support was available for certain projects.
The GREBE project studied the market access paths of RE and energy storage technologies by using a case-study approach. The case studies (n 12) included technology descriptions, technology demonstration and deployment issues and support systems. The case-based paths provided information on important drivers and barriers, thus providing background for the business mentoring support of the GREBE project. The summary report of key findings, roadmap to market, as available now in GREBE Project Publications.
Basing on the case study findings, coordinated technology planning is an essential part of the roadmap to market, i.e. strategy to proceed from the technology development and demonstration to its successful market deployment. Technology planning covers both planning of the new technology development, but can be also applied as a process of updating and adopting new existing technologies for the business enterprises.
The development paths of technologies included several steps building on the earlier ones, and time-span was up to 15-20 years. Without coordination and planning procedures, the market-access can be very difficult to reach, and innovations can be lost. As a part of the technology planning, technology transfers can be utilised. They can include technologies (or sub-technologies) of different readiness levels, and new to area solutions. The role of technology transferring agents, i.e. persons (often multi-nationals) with experience of different industries and operational environments remains essential.
Bridging the gap between demonstration and deployment remains also as a key challenge. The gap between the technology demonstration and deployment can be reduced by establishing and utilising soft supports, industry clustering and partnerships in demonstration, for instance. Public sector has often an essential role in providing the supporting infrastructures (such as business and technology parks) and funding instruments.
Partnerships are essential for risk sharing in long and often capital intensive processes, as well as finding suitable sites for demonstrator projects. There were several types of partnership models applied in RE technology cases. They were often place-based and utilising local trust and previous experiences.
End-user support is essential part of the early deployment. Technologies typically have still improvement needs and often end-users need training and support for the deployment. This raises the importance of the development of the end-user supports along the technology development, and full availability of the service and maintenance as the technology reaches the market.
The GREBE Project has published its fifth e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.
We held our 6th partner meeting in Narvik, Norway in June, and the Western Development Commission, Action Renewables, the Environmental Research Institute and the Natural Resources Institute attended the Arctic Project Clustering Event in Skelleftea, Sweden, organised by the NPA, Interreg Nord, Botnia-Atlantia and Kolartic Programmes.
Our partners in Finland and Norway held Industry Advisory Group meetings and to coincide with this, a policy workshop was organised by Narvik Science Park. Our work is continuing on other project activities. Narvik Science Park has published a Report on Innovations from Local Technology and Business Solutions. Our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland is complete and we have started to roll it out in Finland and Scotland. Full details are outlined in our e-zine which can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here
The heat entrepreneurs have been actively involved in the latest developments of the solar power in North Karelia, Finland. Several investments will take place this autumn to provide renewable electricity for district heating plants.
Finnish heat entrepreneurship is mostly based on biomass. The number of heating plants has increased steadily between the early establishments in 1990’s, to 330 plants in 2006 and 618 in 2015. About 25 % of the plants were connected to the district heating network, and the median size of the heating plants is 500 kW. The heat enterprises are mostly private companies (43%), cooperatives (12.7%) and other types of firms, mostly single entrepreneurs (44.5%).
The heat entrepreneurs have become increasingly interested in solar power integrated to the heating plans. The plans have stable electricity consumption profiles, i.e. less hourly variations compared to many other end-users. The systems require very limited service and maintenance work, and profitability is better than in solar thermal. The economic analyses indicate that the new investments in DH plans located in North Karelia will have approximately 11-15 years paybacks and 5-9 internal interest rates.
The Power from the Sun project, run by Kim Blomqvist from GREBE project partner Karelia UAS, has supported the establishment of the systems in four energy enterprises in Eno, Tuupovaara, Kiihtelysvaara, Kontiolahti and Biowin Karelia Ltd. The investments have received 25% energy support from the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. Seven solar power plans have total capacity of 70 kW, varying between 5 to 21 kW, and estimated annual production is 52 000 kWh. The systems will be provided by a local company Mirotex Ltd. and installed in September.
An ongoing study by Karelia UAS, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and Finnish Forest Centre analyses local socio-economic impacts of heat entrepreneurship based on local wood fuels.
The study focuses on the case of Eno Energy Cooperative – a local heat enterprise producing annually about 15 500 MWh heat with local woodchips for both public and private customers.
In Eno, replacing heating oil with renewable alternative has resulted 4.1 MEUR cost savings in 2001-2015. The savings, resulting mainly from significant price difference, are allocated to both public municipal customers (1.8 MEUR) and private household customers (2.3 MEUR). As this income is further invested, it generates additional socio-economic benefits. Assuming that public sector used the savings for local social services and households for local retail/commerce, additional induced socio-economic income impact was about 2.85 MEUR and employment impact about 75 jobs.
These impacts, resulting of cost savings, are very significant for the local economy. As the study continues, also the forest owners’ benefits, impacts of the plant construction, and the economic supports will be considered in detail.
Eno Energy Cooperative attends GREBE EES Scheme in Finland (autumn 2017). The Co-op also shares actively identified practices through the networks of heat entrepreneurs both regionally and nationally, and is also know reference site for international visitors.
An open call for businesses to participate in GREBEs Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (EES) in Finland was launched in April 5th and ended in May 12th. The three companies to participate in the EES mentoring process during next autumn are Eno Energy Cooperative, Rajaforest Ltd. and Havel Ltd.
GREBE partner Karelia UAS shared information on the Finnish EES roll-out in public industry events and website. The scheme received the attention of SMEs considering renewing their business strategy and improving production development and efficiency. The selected companies are famous for long-term operation and innovation activities in forest energy.
Eno Energy Cooperative has been an example of heat entrepreneurship based on local forest raw materials. The cooperative with 54 members (mostly forest owners), was rewarded in 2014 as a Heat Entrepreneur/enterprise of the year. The cooperative is also famous as active developer in the sector, and generates significant socio-economic benefits to its surrounding region.
Rajaforest Ltd. is a forest contracting company and a heat enterprise. The company supplies timber and forest fuels, operates three municipal biomass district heating plant in Tohmajärvi, and owns and operates one in Kesälahti.
Havel Ltd. is a metal and plastic products manufacturer located in Ilomantsi. The company is a famous innovative product developer for forest technology and forest energy sector, among others. The company has also significant growth potential, in which GREBE EES can provide tailored support.
The EES in Finland has started with preliminary interviews and mentoring sessions will begin in autumn 2017.