Field-trip to Finland hosted by Bioenergy4Business

Teresa O’Brien, IRBEA’s Communications Manager took time out to take part in trip organised by Motiva from Finland. It was organised under the project Bioenergy4Business which  invited people from all over Europe to view biomass heat and power plants large and small in Finland. Delegates from Finland, Ireland, Greece, Ukraine and Crete were represented. We viewed many biomass plants of varying sizes and functions. An impressive newly built (2015) district heating plant (50 MW) in Tampere with the very latest technology & automation system. It was serviced with woodchip delivery trucks arrive every 3 hours during the day to supply the demand. We met with several heating entrepreneurs, one supplying heat via a woodchip boiler  to a cement factory and local industrial park, with an investment of 4 km of pipes to supply his clients. Another entrepreneur supplied a school and sports hall with his 2 x1 MWH Faust boilers running adjacent to one another with the old school oil boiler used as backup. We are dealing with a completely different energy model in Finland but there are lessons to be learnt – one of the examples that stood out was the ease at which young entrepreneurs can source financing for small heat plants (10MW) with payback period for the investment around about 10 years. We have to consider with these numbers that in Finland wood-chip fired heating is estimated to be one-third cheaper than oil – unfortunately this is not the case in Ireland right now. If you are interested in reading the field notes and seeing photos, view here