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Baltic Sea Region powers ahead

Of the eleven EU Member States that already achieved their 2020 renewable energy targets in 2016, five are found in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Looking at it from a heat and power perspective the lion’s share is derived from biomass and waste. And while EU’s 2020 targets already have been met, for some the race is on to reach 100 percent renewable in which biomass and waste have much yet left to offer.

In Bioenergy International no. 1/2017 we presented an overview of some of the major biomass heat and power investments in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) and below follows an update on some projects that have come since.

Denmark – new tech & green gas

Like Finland and Sweden, district heating is well developed in Denmark and energy majors such as Ørsted (previously DONG Energy) that has committed to phasing out coal by 2023 continues on it energy plant conversions with its Asnæs facility in Kalundborg next on the list.

All of the four boiler houses at AffaldVarme Aarhus Lisbjerg facility are clad in low maintenance glass enclosing the high rise part of the facility into two boxes. A new flue stack servicing all four boilers was built with the new straw-fired CHP from the left and the three existing three waste-to-energy lines from the right.

In Aarhus, Affaldvarme Aarhus commissioned its 110 MWf straw- and woodchip-fired Biomassfyret Kraftvarmeværk, which is integrated the existing 225 000 tonne-per-annum (tpa) Lisbjerg waste-to-energy (WtE) combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

In Billund, a novel thermal hydrolysis pre-treatment process retrofitted at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) enables the WWTP to go from energy consumer to energy exporter while improving the nutrient removal process whereas in Brønderslev, the world’s first CHP plant to integrate a 16.6 MWth capacity concentrated solar power (CSP) with a biomass boiler and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) has come underway. The solar heating system can alternate between providing CHP at peak price periods, or exclusively deliver heat.

Fossil gas is widely used for district heat and the focus, from both industry and government is now on a transition of the gas grid. According to a recent assessment by Grøn Gas Danmark, the potential is there for a 100 percent green gas transition by 2035.

Estonia – industry-led fuel switch

In Tallinn, Utilitas Energy Group inaugurated a 76.6 MWth/21.4 MW biomass CHP plant that is currently the largest of its kind in the country. It will account for around 20 percent of the heat supply to the Estonian capital. Built by Axis Technologies, a subsidiary of Lithuanian-headed Axis Industries Group with the boiler from Finland-based Renewa (now KPA Unicon), the plant will complement Enefit Green’s existing 250 000 tpa 50 MWth/ 17 MWe WtE CHP Iru plant commissioned in 2014 that supplies almost 15 percent Tallinn’s heat demand.

The Utilitas project aside, it seems that industry is leading the energy switch. Graanul Invest, the world’s third-largest wood pellet producer continues on its path of building biomass CHP plants supplying excess power to the gird at its production facilities. The company had already four operating, three in Latvia and one in Estonia. During 2017, two new facilities were commissioned in Imavere and Osula respectively. Each is 27 MWth/10 MWe “black-start” units and were supplied by Austria-headed Urbas Energietechnik.

The new biomass boiler plant at UPM Otepää plywood mill in Estonia (photo courtesy Urbas Maschinenfabrik).

Urbas also supplied an 18 MW process steam boiler to UPM’s Otepää plywood mill and a 30 MWth/4.3 MWe CHP to Horizon Pulp & Paper, the latter the company’s first delivery to a kraft paper mill.

Finland – phasing out coal

While most towns and cities across central and northern Finland use biomass and peat in heating plants, the larger cities in southern and coastal Finland still use a lot of coal and fossil gas. That is changing at a rapid pace.

In Naantali, an EUR 260 million district energy project is being commissioned by Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto (TSE), a joint venture owned by Fortum, Turku Energia and the cities of Raisio, Turku and Naantali. NA4 is a 250 MWth/146 MWe multi-fuel CHP unit that will replace NA1 and part of NA2 at Naantali. The plant is expected to use 60 – 70 percent biomass along with coal and peat. Valmet, Siemens and Raumaster are the suppliers of boiler, turbine and fuel handling system respectively.

In Helsinki, Helen has fired up a 100 MW pellet fuelled heat only plant at Salmisaari – currently the largest pellet-fired boiler in Finland, also supplied by Valmet. Helen is replacing district heating from its 440 MW coal-fired Hanaholmen plant in downtown Helsinki (pictured above), which will be decommissioned and demolished by 2024, with at least three biomass heat plants in Vuosaari, Patola and Tattarisuo one of which may become a CHP.

In Oulu, Oulun Energia is investing around EUR 200 million in a new 175 MWth/70 MWe multi-fuel CHP to replace its aging 150 MWth/65 MWe biomass-fired Toppila 1 CHP unit. To be built in the Laanila industrial area of the city and for completion for the 2020/2021 heating season, Valmet will supply the boiler.

In Vantaa, Japan-headed Sumitomo SHI FW (previously Foster Wheeler) is busy reconfiguring Vantaan Energia’s 120 MW coal-fired Martinlaakso plant to run on biomass and peat. In Lahti, Lahti Energia is building Kymijärvi III, a 190 MWth “power ready” heat plant to replace its coal-fired Kymijärvi I unit by 2020 with the boiler, a circulating fluidised bed (CFB) also being supplied by Sumitomo SHI FW.

In Tampere, Tampereen Sähkölaitos commissioned its EUR 111 million 160 000 tpa WtE CHP plant. SBG supplied the single-line 58.5 MW(fuel) boiler whereas, in Pori, Pori Energia is investing around EUR 50 million in a new biomass boiler to replace a coal-fired boiler unit at its Aittaluoto 206 MWth/55 MWe CHP by 2020. Andritz was awarded the fluidised bed boiler (FB) contract.

Several smaller district heat projects commissioned or neared completion during 2017 – in Rantasalmi, Suur-Savon Sähkö’s 5 MWth plant and Turku Energia’s Artukainen plant consisting of a 12 MWth fluidised bed steam boiler and a 10 MWth liquid gas boiler that will supply process steam and district heat were all supplied by KPA Unicon whereas in Keuruu, Keuruun Lämpövoim’s 8 MWth plant and in Urjala, Airanteen Energia’s 1.5 MW plant both supplied by Nakkila Boilers, a Lithuania-headed Enerstena Group company.

In addition, a number of industrial heat and power projects fired up during 2017, the largest being Metsä Fibre’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill in Äänekoski. Valmet supplied the recovery boiler and bark gasifier for the lime-kiln. The former enables a 260 MWe installed capacity at the pulp mill, which is 1.4 times more than needed by the mill thus the excess is sold to the grid.

Latvia sees first larger plants

According to figures from Central Statistical Bureau (CSB), Latvia had 198 active CHP plants in 2016 with almost 1.3 GW of installed electrical capacity. Of these four were in the 5 MWe – 20 MWe capacity range and four were larger than 20 MWe whereas the vast majority, 135 CHP plants, were in the 500 kWe to 5 MWe installed power capacity range. Fossil gas is the main fuel, 88 percent in terms of installed electrical capacity by fuel type in 2016 whereas biomass, waste and biogas made up the balance.

To continue reading click here. This article was first published in Bioenergy International no. 1-2018. Note that as a magazine subscriber you get access to the e-magazine and articles like this before the print edition reaches your desk!

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