GREBE publishes its 9th Project E-zine

GREBE Ezine Sept 2018

The GREBE Project has published its 9th e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

Welcome to the 9th e-zine for the GREBE Project. Since April we have continued to carry out the project activities and meet our objectives. Our 9th partner meeting in Thurso was hosted by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) and included a site visit to the world famous Old Pultney distillery and Wick District Heating Scheme. It also included our final conference ‘Local opportunities through Nordic cooperation’ on Thursday 24th May 2018. Details may be found on page 2.

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The Renewable Energy Resource Assessment (RERA) Toolkits for Biomass, Wind & Solar Energy are now complete and details may be found on pages 3 & 4. The WDC completed a Regional Heat Study for the Western Region of Ireland and held two workshops on how the WDC can support and develop biomass use in the Western region. Details can be found on page 5. We also have an update of the EES in partner regions on pages 6 & 7 and details of the Action Renewables ‘Proposal for a Renewable Future’ on page 8. We have details on the development of a database based on the Influence of Environmental Conditions in NPA and Arctic Regions on page 9. And finally, we have details of Technology/Knowledge Transfer Cases on page 10.

Our e-zine can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here.

 

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Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships in small forest-based local heating energy businesses – outcomes from the MADIE project

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The MADIE project published a booklet which highlights the economics and organizational aspects of small local heating energy supply schemes set up in rural regions as a market-driven business by their owners for earning them a profit and, apart from private self-interests, for promoting the social claims of their stakeholders.

The booklet tells about the Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships, especially in small forest-based local heating energy businesses. Start-up entrepreneurs and their partners need inspiration and guidance in how to establish and operate their business successfully. Besides technical and market information, for starting and organizing a business, multifaceted upfront information is needed. Here, decisions as to the legal form, ownership, liabilities, participation rights and selecting the right partners, are crucial for the continuity of the business. There is a need for arguments that help persuade stakeholders about the legitimacy of the business and related social benefits.

The booklet addresses, among others, forest owners, rural entrepreneurs and their public stakeholders. Policy makers have been attracted by a business model that meets the triple bottom line: by offering an attractive return to investment, providing support to renewable energy transition, and creating jobs and income in rural economies. Co-operatives have been able to demonstrate to be a convenient participatory model of organizing joint business activities.

The booklet, with its focus on renewable energy co-operatives, contributes to the outcomes of the MADIE-project, an initiative supported by the European Union’s Erasmus programme, which offers a comprehensive range of views on multifunctional agriculture as a driver for innovation in rural Europe.

MADIE is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and coordinated by the German Starkmacher e.V. with partners Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE, Finland), County Governor of Hordaland (Norway), NAK Nonprofit Kft. (Hungary) and Terre di loppiano srl (Italy).

The booklet “Co-operatives and forest-based heating entrepreneurship in a rural setting – the Finnish experience” can be found from here or from the library at https://www.ruralacademy.org/contents

The booklet is available in English and also in Finnish (as summary report from the English version).

Information gained during the MADIE project are beneficial also for the GREBE project and are supporting the activity towards a guideline supporting enterprises in introducing new to market energy solutions.

LUKE investigates alternatives to side-stream utilisation of Woodpolis Timber Cluster

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Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) made a survey on the alternative uses of side streams of wood processing in Woodpolis industrial area in the City of Kuhmo. Woodpolis Timber Cluster consists of Kuhmo Ltd.’s large saw mill and some ten SME companies specialised in further processing of sawn timber and side-streams of wood processing. A good example of new growing industries in the area are CLT, cross laminated timber and element factories producing prefabricated building products for multi-storey and one-storey buildings, such as residential, office, school and kindergarten houses.

In addition to saw mill chips supplied to pulp mill, versatile side streams from saw dust and bark to massive left-over pieces of log house and CLT construction are produced in the area. In 2015, of the total amount of 475,000MWh of bioenergy from the side streams 376,000MWh was used at the local CHP plant or for the briquette and pellet production, and 99,000MWh was sold to other CHP plants in Northern Finland. However, oversupply of wood chips and pellets for bioenergy as well as long transport distances reduce the profitability of selling the entire excessive bioenergy fraction. Increase of pellet or briquette production is not seen very profitable either. Therefore, new ways of utilizing side streams are actively sought.

The most technically challenging side-stream fraction is CLT leftover pieces because of their variation in shape, dimensions and chemical composition. Once the product is piled up with gluing, chipping it back to bioenergy or bio-refinery fractions is not easy or reasonable. New ways of utilizing them are sought from packaging and wood panel industries. If chipped, semi-finished products for manufacturing of for example wood-plastic composites should be given preference over bioenergy uses.

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Bioethanol production would be a feasible step in the further processing of more advanced biofuel products from saw dust, planer shavings and bark. Biochar production for purposes which require bioactivity from the char, or for metallurgic processes may also provide promising options. In addition, saw dust and bark contain extracts some of which are already in the markets: for example, pine tar, turpentine, pyroligneous acid, and adhesives. However, bio-refineries (e.g. bioethanol plants) usually require large amounts of raw materials to be technically feasible and economically profitable, much more than what is generated now in Woodpolis industrial area.

Probably, the best potential for local bio-refinery production would be in high priced bioactive compounds or upgraded raw materials intended for uses like in health products, cosmetics, or food products. In all cases, new bio-refinery production in the Woodpolis area requires investments and operating capital, and attraction for new initiated entrepreneurship. There are no ready-made solutions for a new bio-refinery production. Technical implementation must be planned and tested on a realistic raw material basis and market perspective with a convincing proof-of-concept before the start of a full scale production. If they are realized, the new large-scale bio-refinery projects going on in Northern and Eastern Finland, St1’s bioethanol factory and KaiCell Fiber’s pulpmill and related bio-refinery activities being the closest, may increase quickly the demand of the side-streams generated in the Woodpolis industrial area.

The entrepreneurial community of Woodpolis Timber Cluster has worked together for a long time, which has enabled the refinement of joint development work and common practices. Therefore, Woodpolis can offer an example for other wood-based industrial clusters of the same kind about good practices, collaboration between SMEs and large companies regarding cooperation and new options to acquire and market raw materials, as well as product and service development activities.

Knowledge transfer in the NPA

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The GREBE project arranged another possibility for the transfer of knowledge within the Northern Periphery area by hosting expert’s sessions with SME´s. The sessions were part of the GREBE project partner meeting from 20th to 22nd of March in Kokkola, Finland. Both the project partner meeting and knowledge exchange expert meetings took place in Kokkola during the event hosted by the Finnish GREBE partners LUKE and Karelia UAS.

Three SME´s came from Ireland to Finland to meet with experts and share knowledge relevant for their business. Two experts, Paula Jylhä and Veikko Möttönen from the GREBE partner organization Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) were available to the participants for one-to-one meetings. In addition, Ville Kuittinen from Karelia University of Applied Sciences (Karelia UAS) shared his knowledge and ongoing activities in the renewable energy field.

Paula Jylhä, whose expertise is in forest technology and logistics, provided information to the Irish stakeholders on the topic. Paula is also coordinator of the project FOBIA and presented the project to all GREBE partners and SME´s. FOBIA is funded also under the Northern Periphery and Arctic programme. Veikko Möttönen, who has his area of expertise in wood mechanical properties and further processing of sawn wood, was able to provide information on practices to handle side streams and plans of companies for the production development.

This activity was part of the GREBE project´s “Knowledge & Technology Transfer and Business Delivery” work package led by LUKE. The aim of the expert sessions were to facilitate transnational effective knowledge transfer and collaboration in the renewable energy business sector, and to promote knowledge sharing and information exchange between actors in renewable energy supply and demand.

Third GREBE Industry Advisory Group meeting in Finland

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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.

Hybrid solutions case information from Finland now available!

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A Case video has been published by GREBE partner LUKE on Itikka farm Iisalmi, Finland. The Itikka farm is located in a rural forest and agriculture dominated region very near to the city of Iisalmi in the region of Northern Savo, Finland. Currently energy production plays an important role in the farm´s business. The energy production on the farm includes an own biodiesel production unit, a wind turbine, solar panels and a ground source heat pump.

The Itikka farm is in a private family ownership since the year 1905. The farm has a high annual energy consumption of approximately 150 000 kWh especially high needs for seed processing and drying. The Itikka farm currently employs three external employees with one being employed in the field of energy.

The system is driven by the objective of being self-sufficient by meeting the energy demand of the farm with local resource and moving away from fossil energy. Currently a self-sufficiency of about 50-70% is achieved. Own energy consumption (electricity, heat and fuels) of about 150 MWh, drives own production. The farm has available by-products that can be utilised in bio-oil and briquette production.

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has now published a GREBE video on the Itikka farm hybrid solutions case. The video is available in two language versions, English and Finnish.

Please have a look at the hybrid solution of this farm and check the English version of the case video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWQ3NpsFsc0

The Finnish language version is available under:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BfWx9T-ujA

The GREBE case study report on the Itikka farm can be found under:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Hybrid-Energy-Solutions-Itikan-Tila-Iisalmi-Finland.pdf

More information on the renewable business topic in general can be found from GREBE’s Renewable Business Portal under: http://www.renewablebusiness.eu

Knowledge transfer in the NPA – GREBE expert sessions with SME’s

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The GREBE project arranged a possibility for the transfer of knowledge within the Northern Periphery area by hosting expert sessions with SME´s. The sessions were part of the GREBE project meeting events hosted by the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council from 6th – 10th November 2017. Two experts, Saija Rasi and Veikko Möttönen from the GREBE partner organization Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) were available to the participants for one-to-one meetings.

Saija Rasi, whose expertise is in bioenergy production, biogas technology, gas analysis, treatment of biodegradable wastes and bio refineries, provided information to stakeholders interested in biogas technology / energy production and nutrient circulation.

Veikko Möttönen has his area of expertise in wood mechanical properties, drying of wood and sawn timber, further processing of sawn wood, further processing of side streams and wood modification, and was able to provide information on practices to handle side streams and plans of company for the production development.

The experts were also available during a networking event for businesses from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland giving the opportunity to engage with one another or opening up the possibility of joint working opportunities in the future.

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This activity was part of the GREBE project´s “Knowledge & Technology Transfer and Business Delivery” working package led by the Natural Research Institute Finland (LUKE). The aim of the expert sessions were to facilitate transnational effective knowledge transfer and collaboration in the renewable energy business sector and to promote knowledge sharing and information exchange between actors in renewable energy supply and demand.

More information on the topic in general can be found from GREBE´s Renewable Business Portal under: http://www.renewablebusiness.eu