Developing Models for Local Forest Energy

September 18, 2011
Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville, ON

The regional bioeconomy has high importance for generating socio-economic impacts, especially in sparsely populated resource peripheries. The benefits can include increased employment and income, and improved security of supply. In this presentation, the Finnish cases of local business opportunities on heat entrepreneurships and upgrading forest biomasses to pellets were presented in a series of two case studies.

Case 1: Business Models for Heat Entrepreneurships
The development of heat entrepreneurship in Finland was presented, including the remarkable growth of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in the last 15 years. Secondly, the concept of business models was presented and discussed within the framework of wood heat production. The identified models included public companies/utilities, public– private partnerships, private companies, social enterprises (cooperatives), Energy Saving Company (ESCO), network model of large enterprises and franchising. Descriptive cases of these models were presented. Finally, conclusions were made on applicability of the business models in different operational environments and geographical contexts.

Case 2: Broadening of the Raw Material Base - New Business Opportunities in Pellet Production?
The latest results of PELLETime project, focusing on the competitiveness of small-scale pellet production and broadening the raw material base of the pellet industry were presented. The aim was to initiate discussion related to topical questions among pellet industry: what is the quality of pellets produced of undebarked or debarked round wood, and is there potential to establish new pellet factories utilizing those raw materials? Fuel quality aspects were covered by presenting results of pelletizing trials for undebarked pine and birch-pine mixtures. The results from pelletizing trials and combustion analyses indicated that high quality pellets can be produced from alternative raw materials. The economic simulations in a case of a new 22,500 tons/per factory demonstrated that, with strict preconditions, pellet production based on round wood raw material can be feasible. Finally, conclusions were presented on the role of alternative raw materials in future.