Innovative and effective technology and logistics for forest residual biomass supply in the EU
Project consortium has 23 partners including 9 leading forest energy research organizations of accompanied with 14 SME along the biomass supply chain. SME’s include manufacturers of harvesting technology, chippers, feedstock supply enterprises, forest harvesting and transport providers, truck technology and IT service provider to manage fleet and storages. During the project INFRES develops and demonstrates technological and logistical solutions that decrease the fossil energy input in the biomass supply by 20% and reduces the raw material losses by 15%. The cost of supply can be reduced by 10-20% and precision of supply improves the economic outcome of CHP production by 10%. The CO2 emissions of feedstock supply will diminish by 10%. With the novel technologies and efficient transfer of best practices between the countries in the consortium and other countries with similar natural conditions the volume of forest energy supply in EU27 by 2015 will be 30% higher than today.
Johanna Routa (Dr.)
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TEKNOLOGIAN TUTKIMUSKESKUS VTT
€ 459 479
€ 268 320
UNIVERSITAET FUER BODENKULTUR WIEN
€ 232 546
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
€ 156 895
EUROPEAN FOREST INSTITUTE
€ 200 651
€ 220 540
Teknologian tutkimuskeskus VTT Oy
€ 285 051
CONSORCI CENTRE DE CIENCIA I TECNOLOGIA FORESTAL DE CATALUNYA
€ 112 645
STIFTELSEN SKOGSBRUKETS FORSKNINGSINSTITUT - SKOGFORSK
€ 193 400
IFER - Ustav pro vyzkum lesnich ekosystemu, s.r.o.
€ 76 500
B.T.G. BIOMASS TECHNOLOGY GROUP BV
€ 167 997
VALENTINI SNC DI VALENTINI ILARIO EC
€ 18 000
PEZZOLATO OFFICINE COSTRUZIONI MECCANICHE SPA
€ 26 031,60
ELLETTARI LUCA SAS DI ELLETTARI LUCA EC
€ 3 217,80
€ 121 650
SKOGSTEKNISKA KLUSTRET EKONOMISK FORENING
€ 115 650
SERVEIS DEL CONSORCI FORESTAL DE CATALUNYA SCCL
€ 52 326
€ 19 206
€ 180 300
KONEPAJA ANTTI RANTA
€ 110 746
FALLERT ORTENAUER HOLZENERGIE GMBH & CO KG
€ 30 786,60
FORSTWARE INFORMATIONSSYSTEME GMBH
€ 27 300
€ 5 813
Grant agreement ID: 311881
1 September 2012
31 August 2015
€ 4 356 975,04
€ 3 085 051
Forest biomass for energy
Grant agreement ID: 311881
1 September 2012
31 August 2015
€ 4 356 975,04
€ 3 085 051
Final Report Summary - INFRES (Innovative and effective technology and logistics for forest residual biomass supply in the EU)
INFRES has been seeking, studying, developing and transferring a multitude of technologies and methods to improve the efficiency, sustainability and quality of forest based biomass supply for energy use and biorefining. This work has included the identification of new technologies and innovations and the further development and demonstration of existing ones. The emphasis has been to accelerate the development of forest based biomass supply in order to reach the ambitious targets for forest energy set by many member countries. Over 20 technology demonstrations have been performed to ascertain how systems perform in the varying conditions in Europe. Hundreds of professionals have attended the fairs, seminars and demonstrations carrying the message to even larger audience. To show the pathway to the biofuture, a number of arising innovations has been identified by leading experts in the forest energy and technology sector. The hybrid technology, autonomous machines and systems that assist the operator to use the machine efficiently are considered to have a promising future also in the forest biomass supply. The quality management of biomass along the supply chain was found to be extremely important in field studies
and demonstrations. Good management of stockpiles, improvement of fuel quality by drying and screening impurities from the energy biomass enhance the performance of the entire system. By using weather data-based prediction models, the moisture content of biomass can be estimated at any given time and optimal delivery times can be planned. Integration of biomass supply to other forest and transport operations by using the same base machinery and transportation fleet increases the capacity utilization of expensive machines. This is very important, because the demand of energy feedstock varies seasonally and, without work opportunities in harvesting and transport of other goods, the annual utilization of capital intensive supply system falls below economic viability. Creative business models, in which, for instance, biomass is dried by using the excess heat of other businesses, brings mutual benefit for several sectors. Increasing supply volumes of feedstock also increase transport distances and the costs of transport. To counteract this development, the use of larger trucks and seasonal drying of raw material were found to be efficient. However, many factors affect the optimal design of the transportation fleet. The management of biomass chipping and transportation can be assisted with modern fleet management software. Considerable savings in transportation costs can be achieved by GPS-assisted navigation, route optimization and timing of deliveries. Also, new business models, where entrepreneurs operating on a same area exchange storage information and deliver jointly to their clients, can reduce the overall transport distances and costs of supply. The challenge for the adaptation of new technologies in biomass sourcing is the very small size of the enterprises.
Project Context and Objectives:
INFRES aims to accelerate the technological development and open new paths to EU’s renewable targets by producing research-based knowledge, tested technological solutions and service innovations for SMEs for sustainable forest residue feedstock supply. INFRES also aims to advance the competitive integration of forest residue and conventional industrial roundwood recovery. INFRES promotes high efficiency and precise deliveries of woody feedstock to heat, power and the bio-refining industries with a large number of on-site demonstrations ranging from single harvesting equipment to entire supply chains of residual forest biomass to professionals of forest and energy sector across EU. In addition, the sustainability impact assessment of alternate supply chains for residual forest biomass and the future foresight study to promote the market penetration of innovations are carried out.
The specific objectives for the project were as follows:
1. Identification of the most promising innovations in technologies and business near forest biomass supply (WP2)
2. Systematic performance evaluation of selected novel harvesting and transport technologies (WP2)
3. Development and analysis of new biomass storage setups and quality improvement and monitoring devices/models (WP2)
4. Analysis of supply chain performance and re-engineering (WP2)
5. Analysis of an operator tutoring system for optimal blade maintenance (WP2)
6. Estimation of the development path for the future development of the end user structure for residual forest biomass in the EU and what kind of service and business innovation needs it invokes for fuel supply (WP3)
7. Adaptation of forestry practices to improved biomass recovery for energy (WP3)
8. Programming of a test bench for the logistical analysis will be developed to evaluate different business models and investment levels (WP3)
9. Execution of machine and service demonstrations in practice, in total 23 demonstrations (WP4)
10. Analysis of technology and preliminary productivity studies of the prototype of hybrid chipper (WP4)
11. The adoption of the assessment framework for sustainability impact assessment (SIA) of forest biomass supply using key indicators of environmental, economic and social sustainability (WP5)
12. Assessment of the sustainability impacts for different fuel sources and harvest intensities, procurement methods, technologies and transport distances (WP5)
13. Cost estimation of complete supply chains (WP5)
14. Commencing of the detailed analysis of technological and economic barriers (WP6)
15. Analysis of development potential of inventions in forest biomass harvesting (WP6)
16. Plan for promoting the demonstrated systems and technologies for further development (WP6)
17. Dissemination of results through webpage and other promotional material (WP7)
18. Organization of workshops on energy wood quality management and on sustainability of forest biomass feedstock with LogistEC and EuroPruning (WP7)
19. Final report, summary of the INFRES project results (WP7)
Global biomass and waste energy (which includes forest biomass) is expected to play a leading role in renewable energy production, especially under the 2DS scenario going from 51 EJ/year to 165 EJ/year by 2050. Currently, energy production from forest biomass represents 3.4 of the 4.7 EJ/year of total biomass and renewable waste energy production in the EU and approximately 49% of total renewable energy consumption (7 EJ/year in 2010). The total energy consumption from renewable energy sources is expected to more than double by 2050, increasing from 7 to 16 EJ/year in the current policy initiative scenario. The amount of renewable energy being provided by forest biomass is uncertain, but if it continues to represent the same proportion of renewable energy as in 2010, that would translate into 7.7 EJ/year of energy being provided by forest biomass by 2050. The total amount of energy available from forestry and forest residue as compiled by the recent Biomass Energy Europe (BEE) study ranges from 1.6 - 4.4 EJ/year for 2010, 8 - 4.2 EJ/year in 2020, 1.6 - 3.7 EJ/year in 2030 and 1.7 - 2.2 EJ/year in 2050. This clearly illustrates the need for significant technological innovation in the forest biomass industry in order to meet expected renewable energy demands.
Forest biomass supply systems are now in the similar rapid development phase as the roundwood harvesting systems were in 1960’s to 1980’s. Plenty of new machines, equipment for existing base machines and working methods have been suggested and introduced to enhance the performance of forest biomass based feedstock supply. These innovations are often difficult to evaluate and their development potential is also challenging to quantify. Because there is often a steep learning curve in the adoption of a new technology, method, and logistical solution, their comparison in their present form with mature technologies often gives a misleading result: A promising new technology can be rejected, although considering its development potential and position on the learning curve it would become a winning technology in a few years.
This report summarizes the key results of INFRES project, where solutions for competitive and sustainable biomass supply for energy production and biorefining were developed, studied, demonstrated and transferred. In addition, the impacts of increasing biomass use on soil carbon dynamics, biodiversity protection, influences on nutrient balances, as well as forest growth and productivity were evaluated. Finally the barriers of innovation and their penetration into markets and the costs of biomass supply in different parts of EU were estimated.
Future technology, logistics and warehousing of forest energy - WP2
In general, innovations have been grouped into two main classes: Radical innovations that change the operation principle of a system and lead to a technology leap and incremental innovation that improves the existing systems by enhancing its resource efficiency or reducing its costs by gradual steps. In wood harvesting radical innovations have been the introduction of a bow saw in wood felling and cross cutting in 1930’s, breakthrough of a chain saw in 1950’s and 60’s and mechanization of the felling, delimbing and cross cutting by using single grip harvester principle in 1980’s. Once introduced, these technologies have been gradually improved so that their performance levels have been becoming higher and e.g. fuel consumption has been reduced markedly. During recent years a number of novel technologies and methods within the residual forest biomass have been suggested and introduced to enhance the performance of forest fuel feedstock supply.
Objective of a study conducted within INFRES was to map novel technologies such as sensor technology, automation, electric drives, hybrid technology, machine vision and their applicability in energy wood supply. The emphasis was in the technological innovations (enabling technologies), but also other types of relevant innovations and their practical applications were mapped. In total, 51 innovations developed in a number of countries were identified and mapped. Despite the difficulty to quantify the future potential of such innovations, an expert panel consisting of six selected INFRES research organization members estimated the development potential of collected innovations. Five indicators were selected as criteria for the evaluation. As a result, a total number of 23 innovations received the highest evaluation ranks based on the Expert Panel evaluation. Four innovation cases are considered to have a high development potential:
1. High Capacity transportation (HCT) Truck
2. Open Forest Street Map
3. Bracke Forest MAMA head
4. Increased Chip Size in the Production Chain
5. Hultdins Supergrip II A –series of grapples (Hultdins A - Grapple)
The described evaluation included also those novelties that are still in the early development stage, therefore, considering its high development potential, an innovation might become a winning technology in a few years as there might be steep learning curves in the adoption of a new technology or method.
Supply chains and re-engineering
In fuel wood supply, long transport distances and cost-ineffective transport are the most concerning issues, regardless of country and profession of the study participants. Especially Southern and Central Europeans consider the actual legal gross vehicle weight limit too low to allow more efficient of fuel wood transport. Nevertheless, these people are aware of the fact that neither their public nor forest road standards allow the employment of trucks as big as in Scandinavia. A step further in this respect, people in the Northern countries are concerned about low load density and not utilizing their full capacity in legal gross vehicle weight. Study participants pointed out that the number and size of landings and storing places is insufficient throughout Europe. Fragmented forest ownership was a topic throughout all countries in the study, as it limits the fuel wood supply potential both in physical accessibility of the areas where feedstock grows and in the accessibility of fuel wood on the market. Seasonal instability of demand, rudimental development of markets, competition from subsidized fossil fuels and the absence of standard pricing systems hamper the fuel wood supply. Cost-inefficiency in fuel wood supply discourages forest owner, entrepreneur and customer to invest in bioenergy. However, it is a widely discussed topic if there should be subsidies for bioenergy anyway, and if yes, how these should be allocated. Southern Europeans reported a bias in society toward forest utilization, whereas forest protection and reforestation are clearly positively connoted. Especially among people with urban background any kind of forest culture seems to be missing. Though innovations detected in INFRES are mostly technology related, most of the encountered bottlenecks result from management and organization failure. Nevertheless they can be a puzzle piece in improving fuel wood supply in Europe in combination with adaptions in the legal framework and policies and raising public awareness for forest utilization.
A supply chain network can be considered as a complex system of processes and related material, in the case of fuel wood processes like harvesting, forwarding, comminution and transport and wood in different states of processing. For Europe, eleven basic fuel wood supply chains could be classified according to the tree compartment (stump, stem, whole tree and residues) harvested, the processes carried out and their location, no matter which equipment or technique is employed. It showed that it is generally a question of where conversion of the fuel wood material to fuel wood chips takes place. The developed tool can be used to assess the impact of supply chain design changes, the introduction of new technologies and improvement of existing equipment and supply costs, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Mathematical optimization in forest research has a long history. Optimization problem types cover the whole range from operational to strategic decisions. In INFRES, Pareto optimal solutions for the transport mode were investigated with shifting weights between profit and emissions for a case study network with over 10,000 sources, 356 storage locations, 119 freight stations and 228 delivery locations with a demand of 700,000 dry tonnes per year. If a maximum weight is put on emission reduction, about 50 % of the material should be chipped in the forest and 30 % at a terminal. Contrary, if the profit should be maximized, 90 % should be chipped at the terminal. The rest is supplied in solid form, either by truck or railroad and chipped directly at the plant. Doubling the profit resulted in 4.5 % higher emissions and vice versa. If revenues increase, the effect on the profit is more than proportional, while emissions do not increase significantly. Interestingly, if revenues increase more than 20 %, the transport mode shifts to solid, reaching almost 100 % at 50 % revenue increase. Decreasing moisture content increase the profit and decreases the emissions significantly. A decrease of 10 % in moisture content results in 4 % less emissions and 100 % more profit. Scenario analyses like the presented can help to facilitate decision making in political processes.
Moisture is the most important factor influencing the quality and calorific value of fuel wood. Rising transportation costs and increased use of forest biomass for energy are forcing biomass suppliers towards better moisture-content management in the supply chain. Fuel wood quality can be enhanced by reducing moisture content through storage. Since fuel wood is harvested throughout the year, at least a short period of storage is necessary before chipping the material. To efficiently determine pile’s actual moisture content and to enable a fuel wood supplier to keep track of his piles drying performances drying models for both logwood and logging residues have been developed in INFRES. To develop drying models for fuel wood, a rather young and state of the art approach in monitoring the drying performance of stockpiled primary forest fuels was chosen and further developed. Metal frames on load cells were filled with material, thus working like a giant permanent scale. Load and weather data were linked and used to formulate drying models, where drying is a function of weather variables. This study design provided a data basis both detailed and large as never before. Data recorded during 33 drying cycles at four experimental sites in three countries, covering logwood, logging residues, whole trees and stumps and five tree species was used to formulate models. Dry matter losses (caused by microbial activity, most commonly fungal attacks) was found to be a very important issue, especially when storing whole trees and logging residues. Self - heating of logging residues and whole tree piles can inflict significant dry matter losses, which is not the case with logwood).Included in a fuel wood procurement software drying models can improve the fuel wood supply chain by helping the supplier to find and choose those wood piles that are drier and thus have a higher calorific value for delivery. That way the supplier can better meet his customer’s demand and optimize transport in terms of energy amount. Further, drying models can be used to formulate recommendations concerning optimum storage times for different regions, assortments, and species under different drying conditions. All in all, this kind of multivariate drying models can help to further increase the efficiency of the whole fuel wood supply chain. The work in INFRES can be considered a milestone in modeling fuel wood drying and a solid base for further research in this field.
Determination of fuel wood chip quality, especially of its moisture content and particle size is of major importance at any heating plant. Until now, samples have to be analysed in laboratory, causing a delay in the quality assessment of the supplied material. Machine vision is a technology that could enable automated and immediate assessment of a load during delivery. Different camera types were tested to identify shapes and size of chips, as well as the moisture content of the material. Distinguishing wood chip types, determining moisture differences, detecting impurities and determining the particle size of wood chips with machine vision technology using visible light (RGB-images) bases on colour tone value differentiation and is thus affected by ambient factors like lighting, moisture content of chips, geometry and camera settings. A major drawback of visible light technology is its inability to work online. Thus it would not be possible to employ this technology on a running conveyor belt. Further, determination of moisture content was not accurate enough. However, volume determination with TOF-cameras (time of flight) proved to be fairly accurate (± 10 %). Contrary to visible light technology, near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) provided much more accurate results in terms of moisture content and detection of foreign objects. More importantly, NIR technology proved to work online and could therefore be used at a power plant or fuel wood terminal where wood chips are moved on a conveyer. A small drawback is the inability to give reliable moisture information with regard to frozen materials. Concluding, NIR spectroscopy is a promising alternative for assessing fuel wood quality at a plant. The tested technology and developed methods are exploitable for larger plants throughout Europe.
An operator tutoring system for optimal blade maintenance
Within the scope of WP2, an operator tutoring system was developed for instructing chipper operators about the optimum time for chipper knife replacement. Knife wear is a main cause for decreased chipper productivity and increased fuel consumption. Fuel consumption can be substantially decreased if one can improve knife wear management. That means replacing a chipper’s knives when the savings accrued from extended knife service start exceeding the costs derived from decreased productivity and increased fuel consumption.
Unfortunately, operators tend to replace worn knives when the point of minimum cost has been exceeded. That results from basing the decision about knife replacement on technical criteria rather than economical criteria. In short, operators replace knives when the chipper cannot perform any longer, and the productivity losses are high enough to be clearly visible.
Work conducted within INFRES allowed quantifying both the incremental chipping cost derived from knife wear, and the savings accrued from extended knife service. In particular, 8 separate experiments on the subject were conducted within the scope of INFRES, and they were all published on peer-review scientific journals in order to obtain further independent validation.
This work allowed developing a calculator for defining the point of minimum cost, where the savings accrued from extended knife service match the costs derived from decreased productivity and increased fuel consumption. This calculator estimates the maximum productivity loss beyond which it is more economical to replace chipper knives, even if these can still perform in technical terms.
Further work conducted within the scope of INFRES identified objective indicators of knife wear, independent from the loss of productivity, which might be difficult for operators to estimate accurately. Such indicators are: increased engine torque requirements; increased noise levels; increased vibration levels. Any of these indicators could be used for engineering simple, low-cost diagnostic tools that can be integrated into the machine dashboard to warn operators about the best time for replacing chipper knives.
Business innovations and adaptation of forestry practices to bioenergy supply - WP3
Future end user structure
At the EU level current (2010) gross inland energy consumption is 74 EJ/year - with oil, coal and natural gas representing the biggest contributors to this energy picture with a share of approximately 35%, 16% and 24%. The share of energy consumed from renewable sources has more than doubled from under 5% prior to 2004 to over 10% in 2010, being 7 EJ/year. Currently, energy production from forest biomass represents 3.4 of the 4.7 EJ/year of total biomass and renewable waste energy production in the EU which accounts for approximately 49% of total renewable energy consumption.
While total energy demand from the EU is expected to remain relatively stable or decline slightly between 2010 and 2050 (Current Policy Initiatives scenario), the amount of energy being provided by renewable sources is expected to more than double in this period. In absolute terms this means that the level of energy being provided increases from currently 7 EJ/year to over 16 EJ/year in 2050. The amount of renewable energy being provided by forest biomass is uncertain, but if it continues to represent the same proportion of renewable energy as in 2010, that would translate into 7.7 EJ/year of energy being provided by forest biomass by 2050.
The market for future forest biomass may be differentiated into:
i. Electricity Generation
* Co-Firing Combustion
ii. Heat/Power and Direct Heating
• Combined Heat and Power
• Direct Heating
iii. Biofuels and Biochemicals
* Transport Biofuels (freight, shipping, aviation)
* Industrial Biofuels
In terms of utilization, forest biomass is primarily utilized to produce heat from solids, predominately in the industry and residential sector. This trend is expected to continue to 2020, but with an increasing strategic focus on combined heat and power generation and increased development of biofuels and biochemicals. The demand for all biofuels is expected to increase dramatically by 2050, following the IEA Technology roadmap for Biofuels (figure below). This is especially true for advanced biodiesel and biojet fuel.
Adaptation of forestry practices and business innovations
Competitiveness of biomass supply can be enhanced with new forestry practices such as using novel thinning regimes. An example introduced in Sweden is the geometric thinning. With this approach harvester can harvest several trees in a corridor without the need to select and pick single trees. By doing so the productivity of cutting can improved remarkably.
Another type of innovation is the creative collaboration between forest bioenergy firms and local agricultural producers with biogas facilities that can expand the market for forest biomass in areas where there exists a growing demand for premium, high quality, dry wood chips. The large scale availability of excess heat from the biogas facility can be utilized for drying wood chips destined for premium markets. In Germany alone there are over 6,000 of these biogas facilities for electricity generation, but also generate large amounts of heat. This type of cooperative model could be extended to other geographical areas and the combination of lower cost of production with premium wood chip market expansion could significantly
From the beginning of October 2013 heavier and higher vehicles have been allowed on Finnish roads. Before, the maximum mass of trucks was 60 tonnes and the maximum height 4.2 metres. Now trucks up to 76 tonnes and 4.4 metres are allowed. In principle, bigger payloads should result in cost savings. Unfortunately, a considerable part of the potential cost saving could be lost due to weak condition of roads and bridges. In Finland there are hundreds of bridges which are in need of maintenance and cannot bear the new maximum masses of the trucks. For a transport company the actual cost savings by using bigger trucks depend very much on the restrictions of the road network in its operation region. Should there be a mass restriction on a bridge on the operator’s main transport route, either a truck cannot carry full load or a detour must be found. Either one of the alternatives reduces the cost savings of the entrepreneur. Especially in this situation better planning of logistics would help to cut down the extra costs caused by the road network restrictions. Consequently, a tool for modeling and analyzing route logistics might be a solution to the problem.
In this case study a novel service model in forest chip supply, i.e. TCS Opti software was tested in modeling and analyzing supply chains of forest chips. TCS Opti is a commercial tool for planning and optimizing routes and resources with various different constraints which are essential in planning. The results indicated that up to 20% savings in transport distances and 13% savings in transport costs could be obtained in the study area. The high cost savings are due to the fact that there was only one bridge constraining the transport with bigger trucks in the study area. The results are, however, valid for the case study area only and cannot be generalized to whole country. The service model itself appears to be feasible. TCS Opti software gave sensible results in modeling and analyzing supply chains of forest chips, although no final judgment can be given based on this small test.
For strategic or tactical planning also other tools could be feasible. There is a number of examples of models for optimization of energy wood flows. For operational planning there exist systems developed in managing storage data and resources. Compared to those systems, the extra benefit of complex optimization systems like TCS Opti may not be significant for a small contractor having only one or two trucks. When the scale of operation gets larger, i.e. the contractor have several trucks; the benefit could be bigger. Therefore, the tool should be tested with data of a larger contractor.
Several approaches can be tested in order to improve the efficiency of the biomass supply operations. Two such approaches are the use of market platform to share information on the supply points i.e. biomass storages on the region in a transparent manner for several suppliers. Another approach is to improve fleet management in chipping and transport operations with modern fleet management software:
At the same geographic area can operate several suppliers that transport chips for their customers. Typically they supply chips only to selected heat and power plants without knowing the demand of others. In the traditional model, where each firm has a limited number of supply points per each month and predetermined number of customers with their monthly demands, firms try to optimize their total operating costs given available supply. In a simulation study a novel market approach was tested where all suppliers have access to the information on all supply points on the region giving the firms more flexibility on optimizing their operations. With this approach a significant reduction potential in supply costs was found.
Two logistical softwares were tested in German conditions. The aim was to examine the potential of modern map and GPS navigation based fleet management tools in biomass operations. Biomass supplier showed a high interest of introducing the software in the midterm. As advantages of such systems are better material flow control to customers and excellent recording of all transport activities. Both aspects would induce cost savings. The introduction of and drawing full advantages of such systems, however, would require complete change of the communication and information on transport and chipping flow via such system. Given the moderate IT skills of the staff this is seen, besides cost for hardware and software as the major challenge for an introduction.
In forest biomass supply the biggest challenge is the scattered market where all players are small companies with 1-5 trucks and very limited IT-skills. All operations are manages as “good old way” and little time and money is spent on IT solutions.
To get modern fleet management solutions widely used the companies could join their forces in acquiring the system. This would not only help them in managing their operation, but also help their profitability both on purchase and also in sales of biomass. As long as the companies remain small it is extremely difficult to sell this kind of solution. We have seen some changes taking place on the market and remain optimistic.
Demonstrations and means of technology transfer - WP4
Lessons learned from demonstrations
The overall aim of WP4 was to make new technology highly visible and accelerate its introduction through the execution of field demonstrations. In particular, WP4 achieved three main objectives, and namely:
1) demonstrate the viability of the innovative concepts developed within the INFRES partnership, showing to key stakeholders how these concepts could be successfully applied to their specific work conditions, under real work settings that may best represent them;
2) encourage cooperation and information exchange between research institutes and SMEs by engaging them into a joint effort to pursue the same final objective, which is generally conducive to further cooperation and exchanges;
3) collect real-life field data for use by the other WPs, and in particular WP2 and WP5 for the modeling required in these WPs.
WP4 was among the most populated and time-intensive WP within INFRES, involving 20 partners and requiring a total investment of 107 person-months (PM). What is more, this WP saw a strong involvement of the SMEs, which represented 60% and 57% of the total number of partners and of person-months, respectively.
Eventually, the WP team far exceeded the initial target of 12 demonstrations, almost doubling it, which is a witness to the effectiveness of the demonstrations and to the interest shown towards them by all participants, once their benefits were visible them. Advantaged with an early and fast start, WP partners rapidly gained the experience and the consonance necessary for achieving a most successful outcome. As the project progressed, activities gained considerable momentum, and in the third year the WP4 partnership produced twice the number of demonstrations they had produced in the first and second year combined. With so many new demonstrations INFRES could provide a satisfactory coverage of all Tasks, reflecting the interest already commented earlier on.
All demonstrations involved at least one research institute and one SME working in cooperation, and that the mean number of project participants involved in the demonstrations was 3. Seven demonstrations actually developed as the joint work of 4 or more participants, and that number only accounts for official INFRES participants, without including opportunity partners picked up along the way in order to obtain mutual benefits and a larger critical mass. In turn, involvement of demonstration partners outside INFRES increased the visibility of the demonstrations, which was of the main goals. Eleven demonstrations had international character, because they involved INFRES partners from different countries, with one or more of the partners travelling to a foreign country and bringing their know-how and/or technology for testing under different new conditions. No other projects than INFRES did offer so many opportunities for trans-border knowledge exchange in the field of biomass supply chains.
The success of a demonstration is also gauged by the attendance numbers, which showed a steeply growing trend. As WP4 participants gained experience, their capacity to organize attractive demos rapidly grew. From an uncertain start in year one, with attendance numbers varying between 1 and 20, the group picked up speed in year two (attendance between 1 and 100) and eventually broke all records in year three, when the average demo had over 150 participants and two of demos registered record numbers of 400 and 1000 attendees, respectively. At the same time, involvement with demo organization increased along the way. While only 11 single INFRES partners were involved in some demo at year one, all of them got involved in year three, including those who had already produced demos in the previous years, and had gained enough experience to assist the others.
The technical content of the demonstrations was also extremely valuable, and helps explaining such a large success. 23 demonstration events allowed showcasing a large number of new technologies, and listing them all may exceed the scope of this report. However, the highlights can be summarized in the following list.
New technology for mountain operations can improve supply chain performance, in terms of lower supply cost, better product quality and reduced site impact. In particular, the demonstrations showcased a new full-suspension yarding carriage for whole-tree extraction on soft or steep terrain, offering the benefits of faster yarding on long distances, minimum soil disturbance and reduced product contamination. Furthermore, a new compact, high-mobility chipper-truck was demonstrated in Southern (Italy), Central (Germany) and Northern (Europe). This machine can easily negotiate the narrow roads and constrained landing that characterize mountain operations and may help extending biomass recovery to critical low-access areas.
Innovative residue handling technology covered the whole chain and included enlarged-space forwarders and a resilient chipper-truck. The use of enlarged-space forwarders with compressing sides is a cheap and effective technology for biomass densification at the time of extraction offers a better cost-benefit ratio. The new chipper truck adopted a new disposable knife system and a swing-away counter-knife to minimize damage in the presence of contaminants, which is relatively frequent in logging residues. The performance of the new system was compared with that of a conventional system, showing potential savings up to 13% saving on financial cost and up to 35% in fuel consumption
Stump wood harvesting techniques were demonstrated in Sweden and Finland, where root recovery represents an important source of energy biomass. The rotary stumper demonstration showcased a new stump harvesting concept, capable of minimizing soil disturbance with substantial benefits in terms of heavy metal leaching. Additional demonstrations targeted the complex issue of product quality, which is quite poor due to the effects of soil contaminants sticking to the extracted root system. The solution proposed by INFRES consists of an integrated grinding-screening process, where stumps are pre-ground, fed to a trommel screen and finally refined in a second passage through the grinder (i.e. two-stage grinding).Two-stage grinding proved able to reduce the ash content of stump wood chips by a factor three.
The harvesting of small trees for energy was the subject of several demonstrations, which showcased a whole range of technologies, including: feller-buncher, multi-tree harvester, feller-forwarder, harwarder and feller-bundler. All machines were designed to counteract the negative effect of small tree size by mass handling (i.e. negotiating more than one tree per cycle) and/or compacting (i.e increasing the bulk density of bunched whole-trees). The combination of these two principles was epitomized by the feller-bundler, which would handle multiple trees and compact them into high-density, unitized loads (i.e. bundles). The new small-tree harvesting technologies demonstrated within INFRES offered supply-chain cost savings between 15% and 20% compared with the other mechanized options tested before.
Biomass logistics were demonstrated extensively within INFRES, and showcased new high-capacity transports, as well as advanced management software and payload-optimization devices. Despite the larger mass and size, the new extra-large trucks proved a viable option for cutting transportation costs and decreasing negative impacts on the environment and the traffic. Transportation cost is also reduced through computer-optimized routing, using software packages specifically designed for forest biomass applications. Further benefits are obtained through payload management, which can be achieved with on-board truck scales and on-board moisture-content meters – both technologies also demonstrated within INFRES.
Finally, INFRES demonstrated the potential of active drying in reducing product immobilization and weather dependency. The increased value of good quality chips and the larger availability of low-cost excess heat are making active drying a viable technique for rapid production of quality chips with guaranteed moisture content. Simple dryers can be obtained by modifying old freight containers or barns, and connecting them to a heating plant for absorbing excess heat.
Comminuting is an important element of forest fuel supply procurement, because the size reduction of wood biomass from its initial form into finer particles improves transport economy and is essential when feeding modern biomass boilers. Comminution productivity and energy use are determined by machine-level factors, Fuel costs are 30 - 33% of total comminuting costs, and fuel prices have been rising remarkably. Therefore more and more interest to novel solutions reducing the fuel consumption is brought to discussion and hybrid systems capable of evening out the power peaks of the work cycle are of great interest among machine manufactures. New hybrid technology chipper, Kesla C 860 H, with pulpwood and logging residues, was developed in INFRES project and studied in INFRES case study. Productivity, fuel consumption, quality of the chips and noise of the chipping operation was measured and analyzed. The study results were compared to findings from previous studies examining conventional tractor-powered Kesla C 4560 LF and truck-mounted C 1060 A drum chippers. During the time studies, both the chipper and hybrid system were working well and truck mounted hybrid chipper was also capable of operating in constricted roadside landings. Chip quality was good and suitable for demanding users having residential small-scale boilers. Compared to truck-mounted chipper, the hybrid chipper’s fuel consumption was lower per chipped 1000 kg (dry mass) stemwood and logging residues. The productivity results of this study must be considered to be preliminary because the amount of chipped wood and assortments were rather small. The chipper and especially the hybrid system are under continuous development, and follow up-study is needed for the precise determination of the productivity, fuel consumption and operating costs. However, the fuel consumption is already now on average 18% lower than with conventional chipper.
Sustainability of forest biomass feedstocks - WP5
Adoptation of Tosia
The goal of INFRES WP5 is to assess economic, environmental and social sustainability impacts of selected and promising innovations of INFRES value chains for the production of forest-based bioenergy production chains on comparison to the most common current European bioenergy supply chains. These chains are upscaled to EU27 and their potential coverage is estimated. The sustainability concept is increasingly applied in policy development to improve the environmental performance, social acceptance and viability of economic activities. In addition to policy and research, companies have adopted the concept to improve their long term performance as well as their public perception. To offer support for the decision making and reporting of achieving sustainable development targets, a range of sustainability assessment approaches have been developed. One such tool that is suitable for multidimensional sustainability impact assessments of bioenergy production chains and potential scenarios, and which is available to the INFRES consortium for further adaption, is ToSIA, Tool for Sustainability Impact Assessment. It is a decision - support software tool initially designed for issues related to the use of forest resources and the production and consumption of wood products. ToSIA analyses Forest Wood Chains as alternative chains of production processes which are linked by products. Each process is characterized using indicators of environmental, social, and economic sustainability. The tool quantifies sustainability impacts of decision alternatives in policies, management or technology (= “scenarios”) in a transparent way. It offers an objective platform for communication and argumentation about sustainability in the forest based sector.
In order to use ToSIA for INFRES and to cater to the specific requirements of INFRES (comparability to sister projects’ LCA approach; specific indicators) both technical preparations (software and database) and topical preparations (data and content of chains) where necessary. The framework of technical preparations was described in D5.1:
• Preparations of ToSIA database client and server for INFRES chains. This included a format change of the database from Microsoft Access (which was too small for the INFRES chains) to MySQL, and work on the ToSIA Database Client to suit INFRES chains.
• Library of existing tools and information: models from partners, literature
• Update of indicator collection protocol to include SIA, LCA and RES Directive certification aspects on a consistent way
• Developing a comparative calculation and allocation regime for direct and LCA-like (direct and indirect impacts of energy use and Greenhouse Gas emissions) and European Sustainability Criteria (ESC; Energy balance) in ToSIA
Topical preparations and results were presented in D5.3 D5.4 and D5.5:
• Extensive data collection for material flow: calculation of available feedstock and dominant supply chains for 4 EU regions: Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern EU. Data collection for available feedstock was based on EFISCEN runs with EFSOS II data, that was adjusted for INFRES scenarios, focusing on forest biomass for energy assortments form pre-commercial thinnings, thinnings, and final fellings. Data collection for dominant supply chains was based on existing ToSIA data, literature, expert knowledge, and an INFRES-S2BIOM survey.
• Selected baseline value chains for forest-based bioenergy production
• Selected indicators for INFRES
• Selection of scenarios featuring increased primary biomass extraction and recommended INFRES innovations
The impact of forest biomass extraction on environmental sustainability is a burning issue. A literature review made in WP 5 focused on soil carbon, nutrient balances, water quality, biodiversity as well as on forest productivity in the following management cycle. Studies from Europe were selected with the purpose to analyse trends or critical values for which sites intensified harvesting of harvest residues is not recommended or where it is leading to a noticeable reduction in environmental sustainability. Reliable, quantified results and trends on the environmental effects of intensified biomass harvesting across Europe are only partially available from the boreal forest region. The utilization of harvest residues is much more common in this region compared to the rest of Europe. However, even for the boreal region, there are only few long term impact studies available for realistic harvest removal technologies. Most existing studies compared wholetree - harvesting (WTH) with stemwood only harvesting.
The review found for most impact factors that effects varied between sites and circumstances. Only a relatively small share of the studies found impacts that were statistically significant. This is partly explained by the large spatial variability of site conditions and the large number of samples that are needed to detect e.g. soil carbon changes. An important finding is that most impacts that were identified could only be detected after time spans of at least 10 years and beyond. One explanation for this is that it takes time before decay of logging residues results in net release of nitrogen, which is the major growth limiting nutrient in temperate and boreal forests. At the same time the reduction in harvest residues may lead to reduced competition for natural regeneration, and thus compensating the loss of carbon and nutrients. When it comes to soil productivity, there is a need for long - term WTH experiments as well as for modelling studies that cover a large range of different site types and tree species and extend over a whole rotation period. This means that conclusions cannot be drawn from short–term studies only. The fact that most short term studies report no negative impacts of harvest residue extractions cannot be interpreted as a safeguard against possible long term adverse effects. As we intend to combine the review results in a further step with biomass potential assessments to provide better guidance on the sustainability of biomass removal targets, we were seeking in the analysis to differentiate impacts between detectable changes and more critical adverse impacts. However, as only few impacts were statistically significant, there were not enough results to make any more detailed analysis such as identifying sustainability thresholds.
A common recommendation from the literature is to adopt a precautionary principle and to avoid practices that could potentially lead to adverse impacts on sustainability. Regarding biodiversity protection, there are relatively widely discussed and well established concepts available, which advocate either multi - purpose forestry or a strict separation of management regimes. The biodiversity impact review suggested that strictly protected forests are crucial for biodiversity protection. To follow the precautionary principle, it would be recommendable to exclude sensitive sites from intensive residue extraction, such as Biodiversity hotspots, which are areas where biodiversity is still rich. This includes buffer zones around nature reserves with high biological values associated with dead wood. Further it is important to retain old deciduous living and dead deciduous trees which are important to biodiversity.
Consequently, it is difficult to evaluate the sustainability impacts of varying intensity of forest biomass harvests. Clearly this research field needs continuing attention. The review showed that most observed impacts could only be detected more than 10 years following the event. Current European policy implementation aiming at increased biomass use (e.g. Directive 2009/28/EC) requires sound and site - specific recommendations for sustainable bioenergy harvesting operations to avoid degrading European forest in their biodiversity and productivity, or putting the water protection functions of forests at risk.
Work conducted within INFRES WP5 provided assessments on upscaled economic, environmental and social sustainability impacts for a European wide uptake of the innovative demonstration cases recommended by INFRES. This assessment quantified changes caused by selected scenarios, featuring new technologies and increased biomass harvesting, compared to business - as - usual operations. The aim of this work was to calculate economic impacts in terms of costs and revenue of different alternatives and for selected user groups (e.g. forest owners), to quantify environmental impacts such as Energy use and generation, GHG emissions and balances, transport and social impacts such as employment, wages and salaries, and accidents for the INFRES forest biomass supply chains. With this we highlighted critical factors for forest biomass supply chain sustainability like choice of harvesting systems based on productivity, and identified suitable areas of technological and logistical innovations to improve the overall sustainability of forest biomass supply.
The work conducted within INFRES on cost estimation of complete supply chains focused on the calculation of economic impacts in terms of costs of different forest fuel supply alternatives. The aim of this theoretical economical assessment was to present comparable cost supply estimates in Euros per solid cubic metre for different regions in the European Union for different forest biomass assortments. In the calculations, complete supply chains including all relevant operations from the forest to the fuel reception were evaluated. The study focused on the calculation of economic impacts in terms of costs and revenue of different forest fuel supply alternatives. These costs varied heavily across EU countries, particularly in socio-econmic indicators like labour costs, and wages and salaries. In general, the results showed the general and averaged level of cost estimations of complete supply chains and allow a careful comparison of different biomass sources within different parts of Europe.
As a result, the estimated supply costs for logging residue chips according to the selected supply method vary from 17.3 – 25.8 € m3 for logging residues collected from final felling areas of conifer stands. In broadleaf stands, the variation of estimated costs ranged from 18.7 – 25.0 € m3 for logging residues collected from final felling areas. Supply cost estimated for logging residue chips from conifers applied with theoretical calculations using new innovative machinery developed within INFRES resulted in a variation of estimated costs from 16.9 – 25.2 € m3. Forest chip supply costs from stemwood in thinning varied from 18.6 – 31.8 € m3 for conifer stem chips from thinning and 19.2 – 37.4 € m3 for broadleaved stemwood chips from thinning. Supply costs for forest chips from conifer stems from final felling varied from 16.1 – 21.6 € m3. Assumed that potentially available stems from final felling would be available for energy purposes, estimated supply cost examples for chips from conifer stems from final felling for different supply chains in Eastern Europe showed that the highest costs occur for chips from manual felling in combination with a skidding logging (33.8 € m3) whereas the traditional cut - to-length operation (with harvester & forwarder) had the lowest costs with 16.1 € m3 in the selected Eastern European countries. Supply costs for wood chips from conifer stumps in Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom varied from 25.7 – 29.5 € m3.
As a limitation of the cost estimations, the calculated supply chains costs should be seen as estimates with certain uncertainties and a number of limitations when using the result figures.
European wide sustainability impacts measured against INFRES goals
Further, INFRES had ambitious targets set for reducing emissions, increasing turnover, employment and feedstock supply. While we conformed and often over-performed those goals largely until 2020; in some cases the 2030 goals could not be met or quantified. More details can be found in D5.3 and D5.5.The cost estimates were deliver to SECTOR and S2BIOM projects funded by FP7, to support their biomass availability and cost analyses.
Annual supply of forest biomass
The amount of forest biomass for energy assortments available, such as materials from pre-commercial thinning, harvest residues, and stumps could be considerably increased from used 25 – 30 million m3 and available 41 million m3 in 2010 (INFRES goal was 27 million m3 in 2010), to 162 million m3 in 2015 (INFRESD goal was 37 million m3), and 168.6 million m3 in 2030 (INFRES goal was 162 million m3).
Turnover from feedstock supply is generated as the sum of the following: value of the biomass supplied to the heat or power plant [assumption: energy price of 34 EUR/m3 in 2010 (EUROSTAT, weighted average) plus the value of providing the services of the bioenergy supply chain [assumption: production cost].
Value of small-dimensioned timber supply chains per scenario, compared to INFRES goal
Reduction in fuel consumption
Reduction in fuel consumption is related to improved productivity per handled m3 of wood as well as to changes in technology, such as a hybrid engine. The INFRES goals are to reduce fuel consumption in harvesting by 10%, in chipping and transport by 20% each.
The harvesting goal has been well exceeded for selected systems. Most successful was the introduction of the NARVA and the MAMA harvesting system in pre-commercial thinning and thinning replacing conventional single-grip harvester at 6.5 m3/h with 1.7 l/ m3replaced by a NARVA multistem-head at 7.4 m3/h with 1.5 l/ m3 (12% reduction) and replaced with a MAMA felling head at 8.2 m3/h with 1.3 l/ m3 (24% reduction).
The use of harvesters (6.5 m3/h at 1.7 m3) instead of chain saw fellings (0.7 m3/h at 0.8 l/ m3) in pre-commercial thinning is less expensive but (depending on productivity) more fuel intensive. A balance is struck at motorsaw productivities up to 0.3 m3/h for motor-manual systems, where the ratio tilts and mechanised systems can be less thirsty. Then fuel consumption is 1.8 l/ m3, and thus higher for motor-manual fellings than for mechanised fellings. Motor-manual fellings are very widespread in CEU, SEU and EEU. INFRES innovations calculated potential reductions ranging from 12 % to 24%.
A mixture of harvest residues, logs and tops was the basis for conventional chipping (average productivity of 20 m3/h and 1.15 l/ m3fuel use) and the new Pezzolato and Kesla hybrid chippers. Chipping trials with the Pezzolato chipper were successful, with productivity increases to 37.5 m3/h (up to 46%) and reductions in fuel use to 1.06 l/ m3 (up to 8 %). These fuel use reductions have the same trend in reducing GHG emissions.
Initial results of the Kesla Hybrid chipper are an exception to the pure rule of increasing productivity equalling a decrease in fuel consumption, as in this case a completely new technology (hybrid engine) was used. In that case, the productivity increase of the prototype machine was 39% from an average 20 m3/h to 33.3 m3/h. This fuel reduction was up to 18% for mixed assortments from an average 1.15 l/ m3 to 0.94 l/ m3. The initial results of the prototype hybrid chipper are promising, and further improvements are to be expected as the technology and operation matures. With that, the INFRES goal of 20% reduction was approached, but not yet reached.
Improvements in transport were mainly tested for Finland and Sweden with special exceptions of exceeding the legal maximum load of 60 tons with the following trucks: Antti Ranta truck with optimized load volume (69 tons), High Capacity Transport (HCT) vehicles (74t), tilting container truck and megaliner for logs (90 tons).
The goal was a reduction of fuel use by 20% by increasing payloads. The performance of the different trucks was:
74 ton chip truck has a payload of 55 tons compared to a conventional payload of 44 tons (for a 60 ton truck). This reduces energy consumption by 13% from 22.6 ml/ton*km to 19.6 ml/ton*km.
69 ton chip truck has a payload of 44.5 tons compared to a conventional payload of 39.8 tons (for a 60 ton truck). Reductions in fuel consumption were 12% from 60 l/100km to 53 l/100km.
90 ton timber truck has a payload of 66 tons compared to a conventional payload of ca 38 tons. Fuel reductions of 21% namely 2.6 l/ton*km in comparison to 3.3 l/ton*km for conventional trucks have been shown in earlier studies of ETT project.
Productivities are expected to improve with longer distances for the chip trucks than those shown for the 22km (for 74 tons) and 40km (for 39 tons) distances in these trials. In general, the current reductions in fuel use were between 12% and 21%, with a potential for further optimisation.
Increase in manpower
Following the same calculation method as when calculating the value of services for “Turnover in feedstock supply”, we arrived at the following results:
Relative additional employment for small-dimensioned timber supply chains, measured as Full time equivalent (FTE) per m3, is 0.00097 FTE/m3 for pre-commercial thinning, 0.00069 FTE/m3 for harvest residue supply chains, 0.00018 FTE/m3 for stump supply chains. ‘Additional’ means in addition to employment already in place in the traditional roundwood forest wood chains: pre-commercial thinning by harvester, forwarding of harvest residues, pre-commercial thinning of whole trees and stumps, chipping of the same assortments, and transport of chips to heat plant.
In total numbers, this means +74938 FTE in 2010 (INFRES goal +11000 FTE) to 311132 FTE in 2030 (INFRES goal +65000 FTE). These are direct impacts of addition harvesting operations. These values do not include expected spin-offs of machine production and worker training. The availability and capacity of skilled workers as of now is also not covered by these figures, but they clearly show that if biomass feedstock harvesting is increased considerably as presented, also the above mentioned skilled forest workers are needed.
Technology foresight and barriers of innovation - WP6
Tecnological and economic barriers
Innovation is a key factor for development and progress of a company in all sectors. The overall aim of this work package was to facilitate the innovation process in forest technology sector, accelerate penetration of innovations into practical work and by that meet the challenge of increasing productivity and profitability in forest residual biomass supply.
Companies in the forest technology sector are mostly small and medium-sized but typically sell their products on the world market. Their activities include production of machine parts and even whole machines. Typically these companies are located in rural areas and have an important contribution to the local labor market and the local economy and development. Their existence is essential also for the European Union. In their development work these companies are facing barriers to innovation that can stop or delay the introduction of new products and concepts to practice. Even after introduction some new products succeed while others fail.
In deliverable D6.1 “Innovative and effective technology and logistics for forest residual biomass supply in the EU” we asked companies in the forest technology sector to point out which specific criteria each one used for assessing the performance of an innovation. It was revealed that the criteria used were customer relations, product development process, financial performance, and company benefit. Customer relations i.e. the customer is satisfied with the product; the product has a high level performance and meet all quality guidelines) are the most important in order to give a company a competitive advantage against competitors. Company benefit (e.g. growth of demand of the products of the company) also seems to be prioritized.
The study revealed that the most important barrier for innovation for the companies in the forest technology sector is lack of financing, especially for new high-risk projects. This is further supported by the fact that the forest technology sector is a small market and that development costs are high. Lack of skilled engineers is occasionally seen as a barrier as well.
The most important solution to overcoming barriers seems to be collaborations with customers, both to get a feel for what customers want, but also to better introduce new technology in a sometimes reluctant and conservative world. Furthermore, collaborations with universities and research institutes are becoming more important as those will help unlock additional funding for development of new innovations. Drivers for innovations are tied to competitiveness (to stay on top, offer the best products, being one step ahead of competitors). A genuine “passionate” interest in product development seems to be an important driver as well.
According to experience from harvesting operations, users and scientists identify innovations that increase productivity of the operations, reduce the cost and are flexible (can work in most conditions) as successful. On the other hand innovations that are poorly marketed, require complicated logistics, can only be used in specific conditions and have a low productivity are considered as a failure.
Potential of inventions
In deliverable D6.3 “Development potential of inventions in forest biomass harvesting” we wanted to look into the future potential of selected technologies in forest residual biomass supply. While the term innovation is used for products that have already been introduced in the forest machine market the term invention is used for commercially promising products that are based on new sciences or technologies. Inventions that gain commercial acceptance become innovations. Development and implementation potential of new products as well as their probability and desirability of adoption were assessed with a Delphi survey, a tool of futures studies.
As expected, some innovations that are already used in other sectors were deemed to have more potential than others to be adopted in harvesting and extraction of forest biomass. “Hybrid electric power system” and “Self-operating machines” are thought to have the greatest potential for use. Furthermore, the directive concerning low emission engines is promoting the introduction and development of “Ultra-low emission engines” also in the forest residual biomass supply.
In terms of probability of adoption of equipment that have not yet been commercialized, “Automated loading of biomass harwarders”, “Open forest street map”, “Hybrid chipper” and “Machine vision” are thought to have the greatest probability of becoming commercially accepted in forest residual biomass supply. They are also thought to be the most desirable inventions. Additionally, the inventions that are thought to be the most probably adopted and have the highest commercial potential are also the ones that are furthest developed, and might for example already have prototypes.
Competitiveness of inventions within forest residual biomass supply greatly depends on satisfying some basic conditions:
• reduce or mitigate impact on the soil (compaction, rutting, and soil displacement), residual trees and atmosphere;
• reach higher productivity than state of the art equipment;
• reduce consumption of fossil fuels and improve the energy balance of the forest biomass;
• decrease the negative impact on operator's working environment (ergonomic, health and safety of forest workers);
• increase the value of the forest biomass and the profitability of forest contractors.
However a number of barriers to adopting these technologies exist. Some barriers are cultural, e.g. acceptance might depend on ways of doing harvesting and the ownership of forest. Other barriers are more technical, while yet others revolve around the need for more test results to show that there would be benefits from adopting the inventions. The barriers need to be taken into account in product development. For example, it might not be useful to market machine vision to harvesting companies, if the forest owner wants to decide themselves which trees to harvest.
Promotion of developed systems
In deliverable D6.4 “Plan for promoting the demonstrated systems and technologies for further development” we performed a risk assessment to estimate the side - effects of not putting interesting inventions into practice and presented suggestions on how the inventions that have been developed in this project can overcome the barriers encountered and reach commercialization.
The risk assessment revealed amongst other things that if new technology is not adapted EU environmental targets will not be met and costs of forest residual biomass supply will not be decreased. In order to overcome the barriers that would contribute to the realization of the risks a number of measures have to be taken.
Considering measures to overcome barriers that manufacturers face when developing an innovation the following should be prioritized. These measures are mainly in the hands of the manufacturers themselves, with a part of the policy makers that may contribute by financing instruments or compensations for high-risk investments.
• Proper allocation of resources for product development and improvement of the business profitability
• Find out how markets and trends are developing
• Cooperation with other firms within horizontal structures in industrial districts, with customers (forest companies) to ensure product sales, feedback for further development and with scientists, educational institutes and universities
• Ensuring favourable financing instruments (e.g. affordable and secured loans)
• Subsidies or grants to compensate high-risk investments, particularly for small innovative companies
Considering measures to overcome barriers found during the implementation or use phase the following should be prioritised:
• Collaborate with existing dealers and service networks
• Secure expert help provided by the manufacturer
• Demonstration actions to show and promote equipment
• Choose a machine that is properly adapted to the site (size of trees, topography etc.) with a good service deal and reliable service network
• Evaluate if – through small low-cost changes – (i.e. different tracks, add another axel or bogie to improve bearing capacity, tire size, air-pressure change in tires, knife-change) machine can be made suitable for specific environment
• Contact with contractors and forest companies
• Ensure enough working hours for expensive machines by good planning and management
• Long term contracts that could ensure realistic prospects for profitable business
In this case, there is a good mix of the main actors of the measures between forest companies and manufacturers. It means that both have to work, sometimes together, to overcome the detected barriers. Besides the main actors of the measures, other stakeholders (policy makers, researchers) can take actions to promote or accelerate the implementation of those measures in order to ensure reaching the commitments of the UE regarding forest biomass and wood supply chains.
If the technological and logistical solutions demonstrated during the INFRES project are not implemented or their implementation is delayed considerably then the realisation of energy and environmental targets in the EU cannot be achieved. Sustainability and cost efficiency gains in the biomass supply chains will neither be realised.
Committees on research ethics carry out reviews of the ethical aspects of research projects and studies and issue statements on their ethical acceptability. When assessing research projects and studies in the humanities and social and behavioural sciences, the University of Eastern Finland Committee on Research Ethics adheres to the ethical principles of the National Advisory Board on Research Ethics, which are the following:
1. respecting the autonomy of the subjects;
2. avoiding harm; and
3. privacy and data protection.
The Committee has evaluated the ethical aspects of the INFRES research plan and states that the proposed research is scientifically justified and the essential ethical aspects have been considered properly in the research plan. The statement is introduced in Deliverable 6.2.
WP2 produced a vast amount of results, some of them milestones in their field of research. Identification of bottlenecks and the most common supply chains for fuel wood served as a basis for both the technology matrix tool and the determination of the most promising innovations in fuel wood supply. The tool helps to compare different supply chain configurations, both with current and future machinery in terms of costs, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on a tactical level. As demonstrated, mathematical optimization is an approach to determine the most suitable supply strategy for a whole region and can enhance decision making on both political and economic level. After choosing the most suitable places for fuel wood storage, the developed drying models allow to follow the drying performance stored woody feedstock. Thus an entrepreneur can deliver material of the requested quality to the plant. There the developed methods employing time of flight cameras and near infrared spectroscopy can be used to determine volume, particle size, moisture content and purity of the material. Novel technologies for fuel wood supply were evaluated both in the innovation collection and during demos. The Naarva EF28 head proved to be an interesting alternative for early thinnings in hardwood stands, while the Valentini full-suspension-carriage is an option for yarding whole trees efficiently and with less damage to the remaining stand. Semi-automated productivity studies in fuel wood transport produced valuable long term data, which can be used as a reliable basis for pre-calculation of future operations. Finally, a guide for chipper operators on optimal blade maintenance was developed. The developed methods could have a significant effect both in terms of cost reduction and productivity in chipping operations.
WP3’s impact divides into two main sections: First, market analysis shows a very strong increase in demand of biomass for energy production in EU. However, this demand remains conditional: both market driven development of competing fossil fuels and their price mechanisms and policy driven development of incentives and policies to promote renewable energy have strong impacts to the realizing investments and induced biomass demand. These results should have strong impact on the renewable energy policies in EU. Second: results show the great potential of new business innovations and management of the biomass supply operations. With successful integration of the forest biomass supply to other sectors such as biogas production to improve the fuel quality and to forest sector to improve the logistics the economic viability of forest biomass supply can be improved. In addition, the wider use of modern fleet management software would improve the efficiency of fuel supply. However, strong emphasis needs to be put on the incentives to promote the use of modern technology among often very small biomass suppliers.
The potential impact of WP4 is quite large. First of all, demonstration activities were a very effective way of extending knowledge about innovative biomass technology to the larger public of prospective users, and the demonstrations were very successful in that respect. Furthermore, WP4 brought together the largest assortment of partners for developing a common initiative, thus starting or reinforcing strategic relationships between research institutes and SMEs. Researchers could better appreciate the needs of the industry, while industry staff could realize the potential benefits research may offer to them. That alone would be a result worth the effort and the resources invested into WP4. A number of joint industry-research initiatives have originated from INFRES, which will promote further development in the sector. Finally, WP4 showed the benefit of demonstrations in advancing applied research, by favouring industry-research cooperation, optimizing resources and extending the results of scientific research to the greater public in real time.
The results presented in WP5 on the economic, environmental and social impact show what the European wide impact of a broad uptake of INFRES innovations could have. The communicate the extend and scope increased bioenergy harvesting has and how it may vary throughout the EU. This implication and the magnitude, as well as the expected or excluded spin-off effects and needs in terms of skilled workers, turnover and amount of feedstock needed from forests is what WP5 aimed to showcase. As for the reliability of results, a disclaimer is necessary however: the values presented only show trends, not predictions. The reader needs to keep in mind that the data basis was very rough European averages as well as initial results from very few demonstration cases. The variation in productivities and performances throughout Europe and for various machine systems is enormous, and data was rather scarce. Nevertheless, the result shown can give a very good indication of potential impacts, if the recommended innovations are implemented on a broad basis throughout Europe.
In WP6 we identified a number of innovative technologies that will help forest operations to meet challenges in form of environmental concerns and productivity issues. The results that WP6 produced form a roadmap that forest technology sector needs to travel in order to overcome barriers during the development, marketing and use phase of the innovations. The innovative development of equipment, machines and systems is only possible if the developer has a complete overview and knowledge of existing machinery and working methods, of forest industry demand, product quality standards, forest types and silvicultural systems. Moreover, any activities in a natural environment should take into account not only wood production, but also the other ecosystem goods and services demanded by society. The challenge is to develop equipment, machinery and systems that best match the conditions and objectives for each type of forest and forest management.
A strong need exits for more intensive co-operation in innovation activities between manufacturers, foresters and academia, to support innovation in forest machines and equipment design. The cooperation can consist of evaluation of new technologies as regards to productivity, environmental impact, ergonomics and supply chain performance, through machine studies and system analyses
Main dissemination activities
VTT and Luke prepared project websites (www.infres.eu) which included contact information for all project partners, pdf-files of project reports, newsletters and press releases. Also event announcements and presentations in INFRES organized workshops are available on INFRES web. 2,000 copies of 40 page summary report of the INFRES results were printed. About 1,000 copies were distributed to key forest and bioenergy organizations and project partners. Also links to sister projects (EuroPruning and Logist´EC) and to Forest Energy Portal and other related websites. INFRES project concentrates to forest residues, LogistEC to short rotation biomass and EuroPruning to pruning residues. Companies participating in INFRES project have also provided company information on Forest Energy Portal´s company register. INFRES results were also disseminated through key forest and bioenergy organizations like Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO), European Bioenergy association, AEBIOM (responsible also for LogistEC dissemination), World Bioenergy Association (WBA), Nordic Family Forestry, Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), Union of Foresters of Southern Europe (USSE), FOREST EUROPE (The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe), International Family Forestry Alliance (IFFA). These organizations also disseminated information to their members about INFRES events.
VTT also produced an INFRES logo, a report template, a slide template, a poster template and a newsletter template for the project dissemination. Also 100 copies of stickers were printed and used in machines during the demonstrations. One important tool for dissemination information on technology developments in INFRES project are demonstrations, which were organized in many cases in connection to forestry fairs. Demonstrations were available all stakeholders and the reports of the demonstrations and newsletters were published on INFRES web. In total 23 demonstrations were organized under WP4 and more than 2,000 visitors attended the demonstrations.
For general dissemination a brochure was prepared and translated into 7 languages. Addition to a brochure also 12 newsletters included the summary of the main project results.
E-news alert was made through Metla´s/Luke´s external communication system. Also some partners like EFI used their own newsletter for dissemination of the results.
In total of 5 workshops and conferences were organized or co-organized by the INFRES project. This included two INFRES-only events and three events that were organized jointly with the sister RTD projects on biomass logistics funded under the same FP7 call i.e. EuroPruning, focusing on agricultural/horticultural residues, and Logist’EC, focusing on purpose-grown energy crops. Events cover forestry sector, forest industry as well as bioenergy sector.
This first INFRES workshop was organized in conjunction with FORMEC 2013. The International Symposium on Forestry Mechanisation, in short FORMEC, is one of the most important scientific meetings in forest engineering. The 46th edition of FORMEC, held in Stralsund/Germany, focused in particular on forest harvesting systems, wood transportation, forest road network planning and construction, environmental effects of forest operations, and forest work sciences. Back-to-back with FORMEC 2013 a field trip was organised to the KWF-Focus Days, held at a venue nearby in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where practical demonstrations of environmentally sound management of wet forest sites were given.
The combination of conference and field trip drew an audience of more than 100 participants from 20 different countries to the 2013 edition of FORMEC. Most of these attended the 2-hour INFRES workshop on Technology, storage and logistical analysis on 30 September 2013.
The second INFRES workshop, was organized in conjunction with FEC-FORMEC 2014, the combined 5th Forest Engineering Conference (FEC) and 47th International Symposium on Forestry Mechanisation (FORMEC), held at in Gérardmer/France. The 2014 conference focused in particular on (a) managing interactions between logging operations and forest ecosystems services, (b) answering specific challenges in harvesting technologies and working methods, (c) being innovative in transportation solutions and logistics, (d) better working conditions and educational programmes, (e) organisational innovations and other strategies for a better planning and monitoring of forest operations in specific contexts and (f) implementing precision forestry concepts for improved wood supply chains. Efficient bioenergy supplies chains were covered under theme (e) above. A day with field excursions was part of the conference programme.
The attractive programme, combining 2 reputed international conferences and a field trip, drew some 265 participants to the Vosges region of France. An INFRES workshop was held as pre-conference workshop right in advance of the conference ice-breaker event. About 60 participants attended the 2-hour INFRES workshop on “Adaptation of forestry practices and business innovations for bioenergy supply” on 23 September 2014.
The first joint event was the Logist’EC led workshop on sustainability assessment. The workshop was hosted by AgroParisTech held in Paris on 18-19 November 2013. The twenty or so participants included the three project coordinators, the scientists involved or interested in sustainability work in the project consortia, external experts for coordination with similar work ongoing in international networks (IEA Task 38 and the Sustainability Assessment Unit of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), in Ispra/Italy. The workshop had the following objectives: a) to aim to harmonize methodologies, b) to define a list of common sustainability indicators (social, environmental and economic) and to coordinate work in terms e.g. of data collection and organization, implementation of assessments (demos, case-studies, …), and dissemination
The second joint event was a EuroPruning-led workshop on bailing, storage, pelletizing and torrefaction of biomass to increase the competitiveness of bioenergy. It was held in the frame of the IX International Bioenergy Conference, Valladolid, Spain, on 21-22 October 2014. The collaboration covered two activities:
• A joint conference session, aimed at exchanging project results between the projects and to a larger audience. It consisted of the following parts: (a) Opening and introduction to the INFRES-LogistEC-EuroPruning projects, (b) Baling systems for energy crops, agricultural prunings and forestry resources, (c) Fuel quality and storage, (d) Torrefaction, briquetting and pelletization of energy crops (and other resources and (e) Wrap up and closing session. The public joint session was attended by 80-100 conference visitors
• An internal coordination workshop to discuss results in detail and coordinate activities between the projects, in terms e.g. of data collection and organization, implementation of assessments (demos, case studies, etc.) and dissemination.
The third and final joint event was the INFRES-led international conference on Mobilization of Woody Biomass for Energy and Industrial use: Smart logistics for forest residues, prunings and dedicated plantations. Aim of the conference was to showcase the (preliminary) results of three EU-funded biomass logistics projects. Besides the three sister projects, many organisations helped to promote and advertise the event. The conference profited from the collaboration with, and assistance of, a wide range of leading international biomass mobilization stakeholders. First and foremost of these, FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) kindly hosted the conference in Rome, Italy. Invaluable help was received from a range of other supporting organizations, such as: International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), IEA Bioenergy Agreement Task 43 - Biomass feedstocks, US Department of Agriculture / US Forest Service, USA, European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), European Biomass Industry Association (EUBIA), Italian Biomass Association (ITABIA) and Italian Federation of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers (Federunacoma). Due to the extensive promotion more than 200 persons signed up for this stand-alone conference in Rome and around 150 persons actually participated.
Together, the 5 organized workshops and conferences drew more than 400 participants.
Summary of main dissemination actions (210 different actions)
o 22 press releases prepared and distributed
o 33 media briefings carried out
o 18 articles in the popular press published
o 29 peer-reviewed articles published in scientific journals
o 33 oral presentations of the INFRES project results for wider public in seminars, workshops and training events
o 57 oral presentation in the scientific conferences
o 23 INFRES result reports published on INFRES web
o 12 newsletters of project results published on INFRES web and forest energy portal (www.forestenergy.org)
o 33 INFRES posters presented
o 4 INFRES videos published on INFRES web
o 2 INFRES workshops and 3 co-organized with the sister projects
Dissemination and exploitation ensures that the large foreground of INFRES reaches its audience in the digestive and adoptive form. The key audience of INFRES is clearly the forest energy practice; those who make business decisions, purchase technology and supply biomass to biomass facilities. In addition, results were translated into the forms that support policy and incentive development at the high national and EU levels to accelerate technology development to reach EU’s goals for renewable energy in 2020.
The main impact of WP7 was the elevated knowledge level of residual forest energy solutions at all levels of business from SME’s running the machinery to EU energy policy designers and R&D programme planners to target to the most crucial and/or promising areas for larger and more sustainable forest-based energy generation.
List of Websites:
Natural Resource Institute Finland
Professor Antti Asikainen
Researcher Johanna Routa
phone: +358 50 391 3250
phone: +358 40 801 5045
Grant agreement ID: 311881
1 September 2012
31 August 2015
€ 4 356 975,04
€ 3 085 051
Deliverables not available
Grant agreement ID: 311881
1 September 2012
31 August 2015
€ 4 356 975,04
€ 3 085 051
Grant agreement ID: 311881
1 September 2012
31 August 2015
€ 4 356 975,04
€ 3 085 051