Bioenergy from Finnish forests, IRENA report: Sustainable, efficient, modern use of wood

Wood residues form Finland’s main source of bioenergy. About half of the country’s wood production is used for heat and power, either through district heating systems or through combined heat and power (CHP) plants. The most modern of these plants use fluidised bed technology to combust or gasify a wide range of forest residues.

This report describes Finland’s approach to sustainable solid biomass supply based on forest wood resources. The study – prepared by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd in close co-operation with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – offers insights for other countries on the development of sustainable forest bioenergy.

Three case studies illustrate specific, innovative forest bioenergy applications:

  • One bioproduct mill in central Finland, for example, uses wood residues to power its own operations, heat the nearby town, and provide electricity for the Nordic regional market, in addition to producing pulp, turpentine and high-value products such as fertilisers and liquid biofuels.
  • In southern Finland, a combined heat and power (CHP) plant uses a flue gas condenser to capture additional energy from moist fuel, resulting in impressive 96% efficiency.
  • In eastern Finland, another CHP plant produces bio-oil from forest residues and sawdust, using a fluidised bed boiler to provide heat for the pyrolysis process and left-over gases to generate additional heat and power.

Active management allows carbon storage in forests to grow while more energy is extracted from them. With Finnish forests growing nearly twice as fast as they were in the 1950s, the amount of wood that can be sustainably extracted from them has nearly doubled, the report notes.

The other half of Finland’s wood production goes mainly to lumber or pulp and paper products, where efficient technologies also help to improve cost-effectiveness and sustainability.

 


Additional information:

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd       
Eija Alakangas, Principal Scientist
eija.alakangas@vtt.fi, tel. +358 400 542454

Tiina Koljonen, Research Team Leader
tiina.koljonen@vtt.fi, tel. +358 50 3599549

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (in Finland)
Kati Veijonen, Senior Specialist
kati.veijonen@tem.fi, tel. +358 29 504 7170

IRENA
Jeffrey Skeer, Senior Programme officer
Technology cooperation, JSkeer@irena.org
tel. +49 162 274 8052