BioPAD E-Zine – Issue 5 – Case studies 2014

On behalf of Western Development Commission (WDC), Action Renewables, Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), and the Environmental Research Institute (ERI), we are pleased to announce the release of the fifth BioPAD e-zine.

Issue 5 is focused on the BioPAD bioenergy case studies which have been an important part of the project. Including examples from Rep. of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Finland, and Iceland, the case studies provide important lessons and solutions regarding supply chain issues, and highlight the successful factors that drive bioenergy developments.

The case studies featured are:
  • Brook Hall Estate: Energy opportunities when using energy crops
  • Bioenergy and Forestry in a Treeless land: Establishment of Viable Wood energy supply chain and Forestry
  • Fortum Joensuu – Value adding by producing bio oil from wood
  • Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
  • Údarás na Gaeltachta – public body switches to bioenergy
  • Donegal Woodland Owners’ Society
  • AFBI Northern Ireland: Benefits and supply chain of AD systems
  • Kuhmo – the perfect example of integration of bioenergy production and timber business
  • Kuittila farm, Small-scale CHP production: Toward self-sufficiency and lower costs
  • Wick district heating scheme

More details can be found on the Case Studies page.


BioPAD and REMOTE Final Conference is coming soon

BioPAD and REMOTE Final Conference will be held in Joensuu, city of Bioeconomy, next week (Thursday 11th of September). Registration will close on Friday and there are still some places left. The conference program can be found here:

Sustainable Energy Opportunities programme final

On behalf of organising committee, we welcome all of you to joensuu, Finland. If you are interested in registering for the conference, please do it before the end of this week. The link to the registration:

Did you know about Finland: Finland is known as a land of forests and lakes. Last year (2013) the consumption of solid wood energy reached 18,7 Million solid cubic meters and the amount of forest energy (small-sized thinning wood, logging residues and stumps) were 8,7 Million solid cubic meters. Even the difficult weather conditions, the use of forest energy increased again to its new record.

Did you know about Joensuu: Joensuu is a city and municipality in North Karelia in the province of Eastern Finland. The population in Joensuu is around 80 000 and the economic region of Joensuu 115 000. Joensuu has impressive district heating networks which provide heat for more than 40 000 people. Nearly all of the heat is produced from renewable raw materials. Fortum installed the first industrial scale Bio-oil plant to Joensuu and it has been running from November 2013.


Anaerobic Digestion in Ireland

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is the process which involves the breakdown of organic material by bacteria in an oxygen-free environment to create biogas. Farm, municipal and industrial based plants convert waste material into biogas. Agricultural wastes (animal residues, sewage sludge) and industrial waste (food/canteen waste, waste vegetable oils) are the most common feedstocks used in the AD conversion process. Waste material is fed into a digester which contains bacteria. The digester is a closed container and contains zero oxygen. The biogas produced is used for heat and power and the process residue can then be used as a fertiliser.

Currently in the Rep. of Ireland, there are only six anaerobic digestion plants, mostly in the south and south-east of the country, this is compared with 26 in Northern Ireland.  Some of the reasons for the low level of plants in the ROI include a complex planning and licensing system with 8 different permissions required, grid connection costs, unattractive electricity tariffs, financing issues and uncertainty in waste policy.  This is an area which has potential to grow, with the help of policy development and financial incentives to support the industry.

More information on the anaerobic digestion process can be found on the BioPAD website at and on the IrBEA website at

Cré, the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland, are holding their annual conference ‘New Directions & Implications’ on 8th September in the Killashee House Hotel, in Naas Co. Kildare.  Discussions at this will include, the New Waste Legislation Changes; The Export of Waste; The Regional Waste Plans Process; The Draft Bioenergy Strategy for Anaerobic Digestion; Brown Bin Awareness Raising Initiatives and a R&D forum. For further details on this conference, please go to

“State of play on the sustainability of solid and gaseous biomass used for electricity, heating and cooling in the EU”

At the beginning of August the European Commission published their most recent technical report on biomass sustainability. The staff working document titled “State of play on the sustainability of solid and gaseous biomass used for electricity, heating and cooling in the EU” was published together with a JRC report entitled “Solid and gaseous bioenergy pathways”. The report is reasonably balanced in highlighting both the important benefits biomass can bring along with issues relating to preventing future risks of development of the energy source. An interesting point in this report is that a 70% GHG saving threshold is now being considered, yet one issue with this is that it may prove difficult to reach for certain supply chains.

The report, however, does not contain recommendations to Member States, but refers back to the 2010 reports which set the recommendations for MS. It can thus be said that this particular report does not close the EU debate on biomass sustainability. The document unambiguously recognizes the role of biomass to help address the problem of climate change, contribute to economic growth and stabilization as well as increasing the security of energy supplies. The paper highlighted different biomass technologies along with their benefits. These included Biomass CHP plants along with the use of biogases from AD plants which can be used along side the natural gas network when converted to biomethane.

The 2020 projections were mentioned, stating that the consumption of biomass for heating and electricity in the EU has grown since 2005. It is expected to further increase from 86.5 million tones of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2012 up to 110.5  (Mtoe) in 2020. By the end of the decade it is predicted that biomass will be used mainly for heating (90.4 Mtoe) followed by electricity (20 Mtoe).

The report notes that most of the biomass produced globally is consumed and used within its country of origin, and this has an effect on the sustainable and continuous supply of feedstock. It goes on to explain that there is no present risk of deforestation or reduction in forest areas from bioenergy developments within the EU, however increased extraction for bioenergy production up to 2030 could have detrimental effects of forests and their surrounding ecosystems. Nevertheless, the report recognizes that biomass power facilities, including those that are co-firing can have an intermediary role in the decarbonisation of the power sector.

In conclusion, the report has highlighted and made clear the following:

  • Biomass will play a major role towards reaching the decarbonisation goals of 2020, and in the long term the goals of 2050.
  • By 2020, most biomass being consumed will be domestically produced.
  • No market barriers have been identified in this report.
  • The majority of biomass will provide green house gas savings, however this is not the case for certain pathways, because of this more research is required to assess the role these pathways will play beyond 2020.
  • The commission has confirmed that it will continue to monitor the origin and end use of biomass.
  • Finally, for the period after 2020, a revised policy on biomass will be developed and rolled out.

‘Sustainable Energy Opportunities in the Northern Periphery’, (Final Conference of BioPAD and REMOTE) will be held on 11th September in Joensuu, Finland

Finnish Forest Research Institute, Metla will host the final conference for the BioPAD and REMOTE project in Joensuu, Finland on 11th September 2014.

The goal of this conference and meeting is to present the results and outcomes of the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) projects “REMOTE – Renewable Energy Training and Demonstration Network for Remote Communities in the NPP Area” and “BioPAD – Bioenergy Proliferation and Deployment” and to look to the future for sustainable energy in the Northern Periphery. Key learnings from the REMOTE and BioPAD projects will be presented and the opportunities for future development of sustainable energy will be highlighted. Conference is free of charge and open for different stakeholder groups (students, researchers, entrepreneurs, policy makers,..)

The schedule will be following:

10.09.14 Arrival to Joensuu

11.09.14 “Sustainable Energy Opportunities conference”

The meetings will take place at the Centre for Bioeconomy, Karelia University of Applied Sciences in Sirkkala Campus, Sirkkalantie 12, Joensuu.

12.09.14 REMOTE & BioPAD final partner meetings

Departure or Optional: 15-18 September “Bioenergy from Forest”- conference in Helsinki

The ‘Sustainable Energy Opportunities in the Northern Periphery’ conference will focus on the factors affecting the future of the bioenergy.  An important role is to create forest energy markets and mobilization.  One focus is examples of how to create markets and to overcome barriers on national and international markets and to promote the results of both NPP projects to a wider audience in the field of forest bioenergy.  Additional information can be found:

The registration to the final conference have been started and can be done here:

On behalf of Organising Committee, Welcome to the Joensuu, city of Bioeconomy!

Lauri Sikanen, Robert Prinz and Mikko Nivala

Biomass contributing to Scotland’s renewable heat growth

The use of renewable fuels to provide heat in Scotland continues to rise according to the latest figures published by the Energy Saving Trust. It was calculated that heat generation using renewable sources of energy increased by around 17% in the year 2013, which was fuelled by the uptake of incentives and grants. This increase is stepping stone on the way to achieving the Scotland Government’s target of 11% of heat demand (not including that from electricity) from renewable sources of energy by the year 2020, and contributing the UK Government’s target of 12% by 2020.


The synopsis of Scotland’s renewable heat generation by the Energy Saving Trust includes technologies of biomass, energy from waste, heat pumps (ground source and air source) and solar thermal. Biomass only boilers and biomass pellet stoves, whilst wood-fuelled stoves nad boilers eligible under the Home Energy Scotland renewables loan scheme.

The Director of Energy Saving Trust Scotland, Mike Thornton, commented:

These latest figures show that Scotland is very much on track to reach its renewable heat targets. The recent launch of the RHI and continuation of the Home Energy Scotland renewables loans scheme make a compelling package of incentives and grants for households in Scotland that are interested in installing renewable heat technologies. We expect household take-up of renewable heat to increase further in 2014 as there are big savings to be made.

Installing a renewable heat technology in an off-gas property in Scotland and claiming RHI could generate savings and income anywhere between £1,500 and £4,000 a year.”


The Scottish Government’s Minister for Energy, Fergus Ewing, added:

We are committed in helping support households and business across Scotland to reduce their need for heat, use efficient heat supply and low carbon and renewable heat sources. Only last week I provided an update to the Scottish Parliament on renewable heat action in line with our draft Heat Generation Policy Statement (HGPS).  We have set out our approach to decarbonising our heat system, diversifying our sources of heat, reducing pressure on household energy bills and maximising the economic opportunities of the transition to a low carbon heat sector.

“Scotland is an energy rich nation where heat accounts for over half of all energy we use, with an estimated £2.6 billion a year being spent on heating and cooling in Scotland.

“We need a heat system that can provide affordable warmth and resilient heat supply, with a competitive business and industry base, which addresses climate change, and offers potential for the low carbon economic opportunities supporting sustainable economic growth.”

The domestic RHI, which opened in April 2014, is a UK Government scheme which can be received in conjunction with a Home Energy Scotland renewables loan, and for owners of eligible renewable heating technologies provides a payment for each kWh generated.

The Home Energy Scotland renewables loan scheme allows Scottish homeowners the opportunity to receive interest free loans up to £10,000 to pay for up-front costs of installation. The technologies included in the loan scheme include solar water heating, air source, ground source and water source heat pumps, biomass systems and connection to district heating.


BioPAD partners make submissions to the consultation on the Green Paper on Energy Policy in Ireland

Two of the Republic of Ireland BioPAD partners (the WDC and IrBEA- the Irish Bioenergy Association- an associate partner) have made submissions to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on the Green Paper on Energy Policy in Ireland.

This Green Paper is taking a long-term look at the policy, regulatory and societal interventions that Ireland needs to make in the coming years. Government, industry, system operators and the public will all need to make sound, evidence-based choices. The Green Paper is set out under six Priority Themes which are:

1. Empowering Energy Citizens;

2. Markets, Regulation and Prices;

3. Planning and Implementing Essential Energy Infrastructure;

4. Ensuring a Balanced and Secure Energy Mix;

5. Putting the Energy System on a Sustainable Pathway; and

6. Driving Economic Opportunity.

Both of the BioPAD partners emphasised the importance of developing our indigenous bioenergy resources and highlighted the contribution these can make to employment and driving economic opportunity.

The WDC submission is available at:

The IrBEA submission is available at

Take the BISCUIT! BioPAD’s supply chain tool, BISCUIT, is now available. Try it out and let us know what you think!


BioPAD’s supply chain tool, BISCUIT (BioPAD Supply Chain Unique Integrated Tool), is now available at 

To promote the wider use and production of bioenergy across Europe’s Northern Periphery, the BioPAD project set out to improve everyone’s understanding of bioenergy fuels and their supply chains.

The BISCUIT is a tool that offers easy access to expert information, outlining the steps required to take natural raw materials and turn them into valuable energy sources.

BISCUIT focuses on different bioenergy raw materials including wood, energy crops and other biomass types. It guides you through a series of choices to create a unique report tailored to your interests.

The BISCUIT will allow you, the user, to identify suitable raw materials, understand what these materials can be used for and guide you through the processes of harvesting, transport, storage, and finally, the conversion of a remarkable fuel source into energy.

BISCUIT is a great resource for anyone keen to learn more about bioenergy, whether you are a supplier of raw materials, an individual or company interested in starting a business producing bioenergy products, or those who just want to use bioenergy as a fuel source in a business or home.

To find out more you can watch the BISCUIT video on the BioPAD homepage


BISCUIT provides information on supply chains for three different fuel types: Wood, Energy Crops and Other Biomass.

woodenergy cropsother biomass


Each of the three BISCUIT supply chains is divided into 3 stages: Raw material, Procurement and Combustion/conversion. Within each of these you follow a series of steps showing you how the supply chain works and allowing you to select more information on the areas of interest to you.

You select the fuel type you want and then as you move through each step in BISCUIT, you can choose the sections you would like more information on. Your choices are then compiled in a personalised, detailed report, containing information on the steps you selected.

When you register you receive a unique ID for using BISCUIT. You can use this to amend chosen steps or generate another report.

To start using BISCUIT go to at\biscuit or download the App from the App Store or Google storeapp store

And finally…..Testing the BISCUIT

 For the next month (until 20th August 2014) the BISCUIT is in a testing and review period.

We’d welcome feedback on what you like, what you don’t like, what works and what doesn’t. Please get back to us with any comments.

Irish Government approves a joint venture between Bord na Móna and Coillte in areas of biomass and other renewable energy.

Ireland’s Energy Minister Pat Rabitte gave his consent for the partial merger between the two state supported companies, Coillte and Bord na Móna, to work in the areas of wind, biomass, shared services and green tourism. Bord na Móna is an integrated utility service provider encompassing electricity, heating solutions, resource recovery, water, horticulture and related services; and Coillte operates in forestry, land based businesses, renewable energy and panel products. The joint venture claims to capture future opportunities for growth and optimise performance in the sectors.

nord na mona      Coillte Group Logo

Minister for Agriculture, Mr Coveney said that he had considered the issue with Mr Howlin (Public Expenditure and Reform Minsiter) and Mr Rabitte, and had come to the agreement that the joint venture would be beneficial to all. The merger allows both companies to continue with their core businesses but to join up on overlapping operations.

The most significant areas of synergy were listed in a press release, by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources:

  • Biomass business, to be called BioEnergy Ireland, which would procure biomass at market rates from both Coillte and private sources and use this to supply the entire market (including Coillte’s board companies and Bord na Móna’s power station) on a competitive, commercial basis.
  •  A wind business comprising initially of two Coillte windfarms, with further integration of the wind business over time.
  • Shared Services to consolidate central support services and drive cost efficiencies,
  • Recreation and Tourism to realise the green/agri-tourism potential inherent in the combined land banks of the two companies.

Mr Coveney stated that “the decision allows Coillte to focus on its core activities in forestry and operating its board mills while allowing the company to harness those areas of synergy it has with Bord na Móna. Ultimately this decision will allow the State to derive as much value as possible from both companies.”

There is considerable concern, in the Bioenergy industry in Ireland about the venture and about the lack of consultation. The initiative, could lead to excessive market dominance in the biomass supply chain by a super-state entity, with loss of jobs and income in local economies. The biomass sector has many new SMEs who have invested heavily supplying wood, willow and other biomass to heat and power units, in a range of small to large-scale businesses. They are important players in helping Ireland achieve its 2020 renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets. They contribute significantly to local jobs and economies, and it is unclear how they will be affected, by a company which may have an unfair competitive advantage.

BioPAD BISCUIT presented at ‘OSCAR2014’ conference in Sweden

Forestry is major business sector in the Nordic countries. Forests have a key role in the terrestrial ecosystems, and they are used by many people for recreation, hunting or earning their living. The central role of the forest is also reflected in the active research and development. Virtual Centres of Advanced Research (CAR) are networks with a specified core of scientific subject. Research is carried out in a decentralized manner. The aim of the CAR is to achieve synenergies and avoid duplication in R&D investments. A CAR integrates existing networks the Nordic and Baltic area and works for Nordic synergy in its activities. OSCAR is one of these CARs.

OSCAR2014 (Operational Systems for Centre of Advanced Research) conference ‘Solutions for Sustainable Forestry Operations’ was held in 25th -27th of June in NOVA Park Conference, Knivsta, Sweden. OSCAR2014 brought forestry specialists from all over the Nordic countries and Baltic area as well participants from Spain and Austria. Nordic Baltic forestry plays an important role in supplying renewable feedstock for materials in an increasingly bio-based economy in Europe and globally. In the Nordic Baltic area, forestry conditions and industrial traditions have many similarities, both concerning problems and opportunities. This provides a strong incentive for collaboration in R&D.

Strengthening the status of Nordic Baltic forestry as the ‘wood shed’ of Europe must be built on commercial competitiveness as well as trust from end consumers. The OSCAR14 Conference ‘Solutions for Sustainable Forestry Operations’ focused on demonstration of solutions and possibilities offered by Forest Operations R&D in achieving these goals. Sessions of the conference included: System evaluation, Bioenergy, Transport, Site Impact, Organisation & Training, Wood value & Logistics, Silviculture & Reforestation and a field excursion to see latest innovations in practice.

Mikko Nivala from Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) elaborated BioPAD supply chain tool BISCUIT in the OSCAR conference. The aim was to present the current development phase of the tool, promote it to different stakeholders in Nordic and Baltic area. The BioPAD BISCUIT got positive feedback from audience.

The BioPAD BISCUIT will be launched next week so watch this space !