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Wood utilization for energy


Autore: A. Vicentini

Collana: BT - 17 - Feb 03 - Le biomasse nel panorama energetico italiano

Globally, organic Biomass and combustible fuels from municipal waste are available in

enormous quantities. The Finnish Power Company Wärtsilä, for its part, has identified a particular

sector within bio-energy to grow its power business. Through the acquisition of Sermet OY, Wärtsilä

is already a leading supplier of boilers for bio-fuels in the Nordic countries.

There is a strong political and social will world-wide to increase the use of renewable energy

in power and heat generation. The combined output of Biomass fuelled power plants currently under

construction in Europe totals approximately 1,000 MW; in North America this trend is also

developing, especially in Canada where half the world’s production of wood fuel may be found.

Due to extensive fuel supply management issues, Biomass fuelled power plants are typically smaller

in power output, and they favour distributed energy production. These small size biopower units

have been rarely feasible without governmental subsidies due to the high investment costs. Now,

with the trends of increasingly volatile fossil fuel prices and an increased awareness of

environmental issues, the means are developing to support low fuel price, CO2-free energy


As a global endeavour, the ultimate goal in making a Biomass plant feasible in small-scale

units is to reduce the investment cost to the level where subsidies are no longer necessary. That

challenge has been taken seriously within Wärtsilä. By standardising and serialising the processes,

boiler sizing, and fuel input types, the price of small-scale biopower can be reduced to commercial

levels without the aid of subsidies.

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