News Forestry, Yleinen

The Baltic ForBio project aims to increase production of renewable energy in the Baltic Sea Region. Thirteen partners from six countries collaborate to improve institutional capacity for promoting harvest and use of logging residues.

Unutilized potential of logging residues

Forest biomass is a very important source of renewable energy in the Baltic Sea Region. The demand for forest biomass for energy use is expected to increase sharply in the future. At present, a major part of the forest biomass used for energy purposes is by-products of wood-based industry, recycled wood, and firewood used by households.

– Forest harvests produce huge amount of residues, of which a large share could be used for energy purpose, but are left in forests due to economic and ecological reasons. There are large potentials to tackle the increasing demand for forest bioenergy by increasing the harvest of logging residues and small trees in pre-commercial thinning, believes project coordinator Professor Peichen Gong from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Tools for boosting development

The Baltic Forbio project enhances production of renewable energy in the Baltic Sea Region by promoting the harvest and use of logging residues and small trees cut in early thinning. Innovative business models are demonstrated for developing small-scale bioenergy plants in rural areas.

– Identification of success factors and barriers for the development of small scale bioenergy heat and combined heat and power plants fueled by forest biomass has been carried out already in Germany, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. The survey gives us understanding on the current situation and concerns of local energy plant owners, that creates a good basis for further project work, says Mareike Schultze from the Wildau Technical University of Applied Sciences.

Project meeting gathered partners from 13 organisations to Eastern Finland in May.

The project produces variety of tools to support the progress. The outputs include an online atlas of biomass potentials and decision support tools for harvesting, as well as handbooks, guidelines, training programs and demonstration sites for capacity improvement.

– The online Forest Energy Atlas will be realized on the basis of experience gained in producing the Finnish Biomass atlas, notes Senior Scientist Perttu Anttila from Luke. The GIS platform will enable users to explore spatially-explicit energy wood potential. Compilation of database from the national sources is under way.

The outputs of project will enable public authorities, forest and energy agencies, organizations of forest owners and entrepreneurs and forest advisory organisations to have access to reliable data and effective tools for developing bioenergy strategies and plans. This will promote the use of cost-effective and sustainable harvest methods for logging residues and small trees, and increase local capacity for bioenergy production.

Baltic ForBio is funded from the Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme.

 

Project website on Interreg page: https://projects.interreg-baltic.eu/projects/baltic-forbio-127.html