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Wood consumption for energy generation grows

Published : 24 May 2019, 02:17

Updated : 24 May 2019, 09:33

  DF Report

Photo Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) by Erkki Oksanen.

The consumption of wood fuels reached yet another record in 2018 as a result of increased use of black liquor produced by the forest industries, said the Natural Resources Institute of Finland (Luke) in a press release.

Heating and power plants consumed the same amount of solid wood fuels as in the previous year. In addition, the small-scale combustion of wood remained unchanged.

According to the statistics of Luke, heating and power plants consumed a total of 20 million solid cubic metres (38 terawatt-hours) of solid wood fuels in 2018, being the same amount as in the previous year and also more than ever before.

“The consumption of forest industry by-products and wood residues decreased by 3% from the previous year to 11 million cubic metres,” said Esa Ylitalo, a senior statistician at Luke.

Bark comprised two-thirds, or 7.7 million cubic metres, of all solid by-products consumed for energy generation, i.e. the same amount as in the previous year.

A total of 2.5 million cubic metres (11% less than in the previous year) of different types of sawdust and 1.1 million cubic metres (10% lower than in 2017) of industrial chips were burned.

The consumption of wood pellets and briquettes decreased from the previous year to 0.2 million cubic metres, while that of recycled wood increased to 0.9 million cubic metres.

The consumption of forest chips increased by 3% from 2017 to 7.4 million cubic metres.

“The use of forest chips in combined heat and power production increased by 4% to 4.7 million cubic metres after a four-year decrease. In heat production, their use increased by 1% to 2.7 million cubic metres,” Ylitalo said.

Together with forest chips burned in small-scale housing (0.6 million cubic metres), the total consumption of forest chips reached 8.0 million solid cubic metres. The current record of 8.7 million cubic metres of forest chips was reached in 2013.

A total of 3.9 million cubic metres of small-sized trees were used as raw materials for forest chips, being a little less than in 2017. Instead, the use of logging residues increased by one fifth to 2.7 million cubic metres. The consumption of forest chips manufactured from stumps was 0.4 million cubic metres, which was more than one third lower than in the previous year. However, the use of large-sized timber increased by one sixth to 0.4 million cubic metres.

The consumption of solid wood fuels at heating and power plants was the highest in the central Finland region. Forest industry by-products and wood residues were burned the most in the South Karelia region, while forest chips were burned the most in the Uusimaa region.