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  • Developing Pellet market in Finland

    Pellet market in

    Pellet markets are growing phase in Finland especially in last year. Driving forces are the increased oil price and reduction of CO2 emission. Also interest to use wood pellets in larger CHP plants fuelled with coal is increasing, because of the increased coal price, energy taxation in heat production for fossil fuels and support for electricity production based on renewable energy sources.

    Finland had in mid 1980s two peat pellet factories and one field factory, which could produced pellets from milled peat directly in the field after drying it to moisture content of 35%. Vapo Oy had also two peat briquette factories in Seinäjoki and in Ilomantsi. Also technology for pellet storage and burning technology was developed at the same time mainly at VTT. When the oil price went down in 1986 the use of pellets and also research was stopped. This knowledge has been background in developing wood pellet markets in Finland in recent years. First wood pellet factory was built in 1997 in Vörå with annual production capacity of 20 000 tonnes. In 1999 Biowatti Oy constructed pellet factory into the drying facility of an old sugar factory in Turenki and Vapo Oy renoveted the Ilomantsi peat briquette factory to wood pellet production. Both these companies are utilising wood residues; cutter shavings, grinding dust from the a forestry enterprise operating nearby factories. Most of the plants are using dry wood residues like cutter shavings, because the drying increase production costs remarkably. Both plants have also drying equipment if moist material is used. Moist sawdust is mainly combusted with other fuels in district heating or CHP plants.

    The production of wood pellets was in 2000 totally 40 000 tons (188 GWh). Pellet factories can be categorized in two classes by annual production: plants producing more than 10 000 ton/a (Vörå, Turenki and Ilomantsi) and smaller producers less than 10 000 tons (Saarijärvi, Keuruu, Punkaharju, Kuopio and Anjalankoski). About 85-90% of the production was exported to Sweden or Denmark to be used in large power plants. In the end of the year 2000 several new smaller production units with capacity from 1 500 to 5 000 tons/a were built in mechanical wood industry. In 2001 the total capacity of the pellet plants is 150 000 tonnes (table 1) and production is estimated to reach 80 000 tons. The price of the pellet is depending about the delivery size and transportation distance. The price excluding VAT (22%) varies from 450 to 1000 FIM/ton (67 – 168 EUR/ton, 14 – 35 EUR/MWh).

    Table 1. Pellet factories in Finland in 2001.

    Location Year Factory, production site Production capacity, tonnes/a
    Vôrâ 1997 Vôrâ Finncamb Oy 20 000
    Turenki 1999 Biowatti Oy 70 000
    Ilomantsi 1999 Vapo Oy 45 000
    Saarijärvi 1999 Hehkupelletti Oy 3 000
    Keuruu 2000 Keurak Oy 5 000
    Kuopio 2000 Umacon Oy 2 500
    Punka­harju 2000 Punkaharjun Pelletti Ky 1 500
    Anjalankoski 2001 Umacon Oy 2 500

    In the end of year 2000 both Vapo Oy and Biowatti Oy, which are the biggest producers, established nation wide distribution network. Consumers can order Vapo pellets from Agrimarket (142 retail dealers) and Biowatti pellets from K-maatalous (K-Agriculture). Both companies have nation-wide order service numbers and web ordering possibilities. In end of 2000 Metsä-Serla Oy which is the mother company of Biowatti Oy has bought 30% of the shares from Vapo Oy. This will influence in the pellet markets, too.

    There is no pellet quality standard nor pellet burner testing system in Finland. Finnish pellet manufacturers are mainly using Swedish standards.

    Transportation as bulk material takes place by trucks with a interchargeable container or by full load trucks. The distribution equipment is powered by the truck hydraulics, and hence no external power sources are needed. The interchargeable container can load 18 cubic metres and it has been divided into three six-cubic-meter section that can be unloaded separately. One section can meet a demand of annual pellet use for one family house. Pellets can be also delivered in large (big 650 – 1000 kg) or small sacks 15 – 20 kg.

    Wood pellets are used in ten public buildings to substitute light fuel oil (capacity from 50 – 500 kW). About 200 one family houses are using wood pellets. In the end of year 2000 Turku Energia started also cofiring of pellets with coal. About 5 000 tons was used in Linnankatu 100 MW coal-fired power plant. Before starting pellet use the plant staff has gathered experiences from Sweden by visiting Hässelby plant in Stockholm. The Turku Energia has only invested 20 000 FIM (3 400 €) to pellet equipment. Pellets are stored in the old chicken feed silo and feed into the coal handling system and burned as powder. Experiments have been successful and Turku Energia is continuing using pellets also in future.

    Most of the pellet technology is imported from Sweden, Germany, Austria and USA. Most used pellet burners are Swedish like EcoTec, PellX, Iwabo and Janfire. Pellet production equipment have been imported from Germany and Baltic States. From USA and Austria pellet stoves are imported. There is only two domestic pellet boiler-burner systems especially designed for pellet burning in the market manufactured by HT Engineering and Thermia Oy. Some manufacturers have deliver systems, which are based on wood chip burners. HT Engineering has also developed container pellet plant, which can be transported from one place to other. Development of pellet technology is carried out by two governmental research institutes, TTSInstitute and VTT Energy.

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    Views: 7155 Published: 12-05-2011

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    Developing Pellet market in Finland


    Pellet market in Finland