Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

WP(3) Energy wood production

- Certain part of woody biomass could be used as fuel that can provide energy to the industrial sector, heat and power sector, commercial purposes or domestic use.

- Conventional forestry systems are defined here as natural forests and plantations in which biomass for energy can be considered as a by-product alongside other benefits and values such as timber production, environmental consideration, and biodiversity.

- Ten energy wood production chains were identified in the project.

- These wood production chains are in use in European Union countries and Romania and Bulgaria.

- Total production costs for energy wood vary between 2.2 5.4 Euro per GJ for the most efficient production chains i.e. flagship production chains, including the following systems:
-- Bundles from logging residues;
-- Wood chips from logging residues;
-- Loose logging residues at European level;
-- Whole tree chips from early thinning.

Key innovative results:
- Studying and comparing the most promising ECHAINEs in European countries, has indicated two factors:
-- Different methodologies prevail to characterize the chains; no common terminology exists.
-- Large differences in geographical regions and accessibility (including seasonal accessibility).

- The following main cost influencing factors could be identified as important:
-- Scale of operation has a major impact on the procurement cost,
-- Full employment of machinery and area availability of energy wood are the most important factors,
-- Large scale use enables use of capital intensive and effective systems based on chipping at plant,
-- In small / medium scale use road side chipping based on technologies are suitable.

- We can consider that there are large energy wood quantities available with today´s best technique and with today´s average price level.

- In the long-range perspective these figures will probably increase considerably, due primarily to the technical development, and provided that sufficient demand is there.

- Another reason to this development is that the productivity in forest operations and in wood fuel utilization has increased considerably during the last 20 years.

Current status:
- Energy wood can be produced from logging operations concerning branches and tops, i.e. logging residues mainly from regeneration fellings, and can also be produced by tree-section systems.
- The tree section method enables to produce pulpwood and fuel through large-scale operations, and has been applied more in Sweden and Finland though at declining rate.

- Other methods used in Sweden and Finland are multi-tree handling (MTH), felling heads for cost effective felling in pre-commercial and first thinning stands; new forwarder variants for heavier payloads; chipper operating on strip roads; and bundling of logging residues, e.g. to cut haulage costs and to increase efficiency of chipping.

- Methods for producing energy wood from logging residues originating from regeneration fellings are terminal chipping, end-use chipping and roadside and terrain chipping.

- In Finland, Sweden and also Germany, more commercial methods for road-side and terrain chipping have recently been developed and applied.

- In Bulgaria a major part of operations are performed in the cutting area or in a temporary timber yard.

- More simple machines are being used, because there is a lack of roads and the terrain is mountainous. Large potential exists, if these factors are overcome.

Use potential:
- Competition with other energy sources, national energy policies and local opinion constitute major barriers to increase bioenergy use.

- Increased national self-sufficiency is a policy goal for many countries.

Expected benefits:
- Harvesting methods show high variations and are adapted to the environment.

- Energy production based on woody biomass from conventional forestry systems conforms to international agreements and initiatives at different levels that promote sustainability.

- The optimal harvesting element in the chain might therefore involve traditional techniques as more advanced techniques may not always work, especially in wintertime, or may not be cost effective.

- The methods of harvesting also vary depending on the type of residues, e.g. logging residues from wood harvesting operations or residues from arboriculture.

Dissemination of the results have been carried out by 1) Using Echaine web-page, 2) Partners presentations at two by Echaine organised international workshops (Bulgaria and Russia), 3) Partners presentations at national and international seminars and workshops, 4) Scientific papers.

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