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 second annual meeting was organized at LUKE, Metla-talo Joensuu on Wednesday 26th of April 2017. Finnish GREBE project partners updated the IAG on the project developments and outcomes over the last year, introduced the GREBE Renewable Business Portal (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its contribution to the business mentoring through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).
The group discussion was interesting and highlighted the importance of marketing & sales skills in companies and SME´s. The discussion also included the planned online/virtual course preparation and video production of Finnish technology & renewable energy cases showing the entire chain from the raw material to the end-use. The IAG provided valuable insights for the GREBE activities on support scheme, business calculations, entrepreneur enabler scheme and demonstration cases and mentioned the importance of National languages in dissemination material such as in videos or other selected material.
IAG also discussed on how to link and work together with other activities, projects and support and how GREBE activities can most effectively be implemented, based on their own experience of working in or supporting the renewable energy. The IAG in Finland includes representatives from the renewable energy SMEs, research and education, business development companies, regional authority and agricultural producers and forest owners union.
The GREBE Project has published its fourth e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.
We held our fifth partner meeting in Joensuu, Finland in February, where we held a joint conference with the IEA Bioenergy Task 43 and launched our online training and networking platform renewablebusiness.eu.
We also have details of four participating companies in our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland (MSL – McCrea Services Ltd., Moffitt & Robinson, Rowe Energy and Winters Renewables) and information on three more of our policy workshops. To read our e-zine, please click here
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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).
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.
The GREBE project successfully organized – in cooperation with the IEA Bioenergy Task 43 – the joint seminar “From resource to sustainable business” and the GREBE policy workshop. Both, seminar and policy workshop took place on the 9th of February 2017 in Joensuu, Finland.
The goal of this seminar was to discuss the topics and aims of GREBE and IEA Bioenergy Task 43 presenting and elaborating key aspects and opportunities from the resource to a sustainable business for sustainable energy. The joint seminar “From resource to sustainable business” included discussions of the more than 40 participants around the topics “Biomass Feedstocks for Energy Markets”, “Generating Renewable Energy business”, “Mentoring & support for RE business” and “Global energy markets & opportunities for sustainable business”.
A key milestone for GREBE was the launch of the Renewable Business Portal. Transnational sharing of knowledge is a key part of the GREBE project and therefore the portal provides a platform to demonstrate the full potential of the renewable energy (RE) sector and showcase innovations in RE technology. The Virtual Energy Ideas Hub enables connecting renewable energy businesses to develop new opportunities locally, regionally and transnationally.
The GREBE policy workshop after the seminar focused on energy policy and promotion of renewable energy. The GREBE policy workshop dealt with current issues from the Finnish and North Karelian point of view. There was active participation from regional stakeholders as well as from international participants (IEA Bioenergy Task 43 & GREBE). The results of the workshop will be utilized in drafting the roadmap towards an oil-free and low-carbon North Karelia 2040. Details of this will be included in our next e-zine.
Alternatively, participants had the opportunity to join an excursion in the Joensuu region visiting first the company Kesla Oyj and then the Sirkkala Energy Park. The successful day ended with a joint dinner. The event was co-organized by the GREBE partners Luke and Karelia UAS.