Clara Valente, Bengt Gunnar Hillring and Birger Solberg
Use of bioenergy based on woody biomass has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in European countries. In three case studies from Scandinavia, we conducted life cycle assessment (LCA) of alternative wood fuel supply chains (WFSCs) with respect to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy use, and costs. Case study 1 is a local Norwegian supply chain, while case studies 2 and 3 are international WFSCs, where woody biomass is exported to Sweden from respectively lowland and mountain forests in Norway. The GHG emissions and energy use in the case of wood chip exportation from Norway to Sweden were lower than in the local alternative use of the biomass. The emissions were 31.7 kg CO2e/m3 solid over bark (67.4 kg CO2e/MWh) for case study 1; 22.2 kg CO2e/m3 solid over bark (47.2 kg CO2e/MWh) for case study 2; and 23.9 kg CO2e/m3 solid over bark (50.8 kg CO2e/MWh) for case study 3. From a GHG point of view, WFSCs with relatively long transport distances were best when transportation was by railway and the combustion plant had high efficiency. The highest GHG emissions occurred in the truck transportation and chipping operations. Energy input-output ratios show that for case studies 1, 2, and 3, respectively, the fossil fuel energy inputs were 4.5%, 3.4%, and 4% of the bioenergy produced. Forest fuels from mountain forests in Norway seem promising for filling the high demand for wood fuel in Sweden, where bioenergy use is relatively high. In all case studies, the GHG balance was positive, especially when wood fuel plants substituted energy production from coal and oil plants. The cost analysis showed that wood chip import from Norway to Sweden was economically feasible. Keywords: bioenergy, LCA, mountain forests, Norway, supply chains, Sweden. Received 6 January 2012, Revised 3 February 2012, Accepted 8 February 2012.
Modified forage harvesters are a common technology used to harvest short rotation coppice (SRC). This paper describes results of time studies from harvest trials with the New Holland forage harvester equipped with the cutting head 130 FB. Seven fields comprising a total of 13.6 ha SRC were harvested, and data from 22h 41 min were collected. In the studies, 0.77 hectares were harvested per productive machine hour (pmh‐1). The share of productive times was 74% of the total work time. The average harvesting productivity was 20.5 odt pmh‐1. Under good conditions, productivities up to 30 odt pmh‐1 were reached. The harvesting costs were 19.70€ odt‐1 on average, excluding the costs for the transport of the chips and of the harvesting machine to the fields. Keywords: Short rotation coppice (SRC), harvest operation, productivity, forage harvester, New Holland, cutting head 130 FB. Received 11 July 2011, Revised 26 April 2012, Accepted 30 April 2012.
Minli Wan, Katja Lähtinen, Anne Toppinen and Matti Toivio
The resources of currently dominant fossil fuels are limited, and their use causes greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, the public interest within the European Union has changed toward using renewable energy. Finland’s forest industry is one of the world leaders in producing and utilizing wood-based bioenergy. Hence, it is of interest to evaluate new value-creation opportunities and the consequent challenges that face the Finnish sawmill industry. In order to identify the strategic resources that enable developing competitive advantages in the emerging bioenergy field, we applied the natural resource-based view of strategy to the sawmill industry. In the empirical part, qualitative semi-structured interviews with managers of 23 sawmills based on the Delphi methodology were conducted in two phases. We identified partnerships with local community heat plants as a strategic resource for providing new business opportunities, apart from raw material availability and existing technologies. Although the Finnish sawmills have a long tradition in energy production, most energy-related investments have been made only during the past decade, and the sawmills would be keenly interested in increasing the efficiency of using their by-products through new investments. In conclusion, the Finnish sawmill industry being the local producer of wood-based bioenergy can support meeting the ambitious national target for renewable energy production for 2020. However, the volatile bioenergy policy changes act as a major factor of uncertainty in predicting the future development of the business environment and further increase the risk level for future investments. Keywords: opportunities, challenges, bioenergy, Finnish sawmill industry. Received 27 December 2011, Revised 22 March 2012, Accepted 19 April 2011.
Considering the ambitious goals to increase the share of renewable energies in the heat, power and transport sector, wood energy plays an important role in Germany´s energy transition. However, various wood market outlooks and scenarios describe the limitations of wood mobilization in Germany. This could result in rising wood prices, as well as in higher competition among wood fuel consumers. In that context, this paper deals with the question of which wood energy conversion pathways are most competitive in Germany. With regard to the feedstock prices, the competitiveness of various wood fuel conversion pathways is assessed. Applying the concept of ceiling prices, combined heat and power plants are relatively vulnerable to increasing wood prices. The ceiling prices of synthetic biofuels already reach high levels. However, their market entry depends on many other aspects. If fossil fuel prices continue to rise, heat provision from woody biomass remains a very attractive option in Germany. But different types of wood fractions are suitable as wood fuels, and an analysis of wood fuel qualities and prices provides more insights in the economic viability of wood energy pathways and their possible role in Germany´s energy transition. Keywords: bioenergy, competition, wood demand, wood supply, ceiling price. Received 4 September 2011, Revised 12 June 2012, Accepted 3 July 2012.
Benjamin Engler, Siegmar Schoenherr, Zheke Zhong and Gero Becker
Bamboo has gained increasing attention, especially due to its fast growth and its versatile utilization. It is used by millions of people in their daily lives and is a resource for timber, pulp and paper, and for food industries—not only in Asia. So far, the bioenergy sector has shown only marginal interest in bamboo, whose energetic properties are less intensively studied than its physical properties. This paper presents physical and chemical properties of two bamboo species—Phyllostachys pubescens and Bambusa emeiensis—for energy recovery. Both species were tested on calorific value, moisture, ash and chloride content in dependence on the culm’s age, and the sample’s position along the culm. Furthermore, the sustainable biomass potential from bamboo stands for energetic utilization of Phyllostachys pubescens was assessed. The obtained results show that both bamboo species have a potential for energy recovery and are essentially suitable to be used as an energy source for combustion. Compared to woody biomass, both species show similar calorific values and only slightly higher chloride and ash contents. Keywords: bamboo, bioenergy, combustion, Phyllostachys pubescens, Bambusa emeiensis, calorific value, China. Received 7 July 2011, Revised 21 June 2012, Accepted 4 July 2012.
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