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Published: 14 august 2019 16:34

What has Lithuania achieved in bioenergy over 15 years?

Foksita CHP biomass plant
Foksita CHP biomass plant

Lithuania has become an example of energy independence and the development of renewable energy for many countries. By sharing its story about successful bioenergy sector development, Lithuania hopes to inspire other countries to reach their renewable energy potential and set ambitious goals.

For Lithuania, dependence on imported fossil fuels from Russia was an economic and political challenge. From 2000 to 2018 biomass use in the DH (District heating) sector increased from 2 % to ~70 % and in 2020 it is expected to reach 80-85 %.

Lithuania has already reached the targets of the EU Directive regarding the Incentives for Consumption of Renewable Energy Resources for Lithuania to increase this rate to 23 % until 2020. In 2017 the share of RES in total energy consumption was 25.8 %. Nevertheless, Lithuania is not going to stop. The country has ambitious goals in Lithuania’s National Energy Independence Strategy that by 2030, 45 % of electricity consumption and as much as 90 % of heat energy will be produced from renewable energy sources. Furthermore, all electricity and heat consumed in Lithuania will be produced from renewable and other clean sources by 2050!

Switch from Gas to Biomass: heating prices dropped 50 %

Practically all the cities, towns and bigger villages now have biomass district heating, capable to cover base load and supply heat and hot water. It is very often, that biomass energy covers 100 % of necessary heat (in smaller towns). For example, in Kaunas city (second largest city in Lithuania) ~ 90 % of district heating is covered with biomass – from 2012, when almost all heat demand was covered with natural gas, heating prices dropped 50 %. Biomass price in Lithuania is 3 times lower than natural gas price.

Biomass energy also found its place in industry. The wood processing industry traditionally used to be the “ice-breaker” of the process (what is obvious having in mind the main raw material they have to deal with). Cheap and clean heat and steam from biomass is liked by others, like milk and fish industry, paper and tobacco plants, even the chemical industry. ~ 32 % of heat was produced from cheap and local biomass in industrial companies in 2018, it is expected to grow up to 50 % in 2020. This significantly increased compatibility of Lithuanian producers due to cost-effective and clean biomass energy applications in their factories and plants.

Biomass energy industry in Lithuania has grown itself during the last decade. More than 7500 people are employed in technological companies and production and supply of biomass. The export of technological equipment reached 100 M EUR in 2017, but is expected to grow up to 300 M EUR in 2020. The average salary is 50% higher in this sphere of the Lithuanian economy, comparing to the average.

As a result, this transition from imported fossil fuel-gas to local biomass offered to Lithuania lower prices of heat to consumers and lower emissions of CO2 (from 1997 until now emissions dropped 60 % in DH sector). The number of jobs increased significantly, and R&D, cooperation of science and business, development of technologies took place in large scale.

It’s time to share Lithuania’s knowledge and know-how with Poland

On 4th of June 2019 Lithuanian and Polish companies and politicians gathered to share experience and knowledge in „Lithuanian – Polish Mission on Bioenergy and Energy Efficiency”. Event was initiated by Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, World Bioenergy Association WBA and Lithuanian Biomass Energy Association LITBIOMA.

At the Lithuanian – Polish Bioenergy mission, experiences and state-of-the-art technologies were shared and presented along with market developments and policy instruments. Delegates from Lithuania and Poland attended the event and shared the experience and their way to the energy independence based on renewable resources and also find ways to help each other in doing this. This mission was a perfect event to share good experiences between Lithuania and Poland in developing renewable energy and energy efficiency and to have a constructive discussion towards mutual projects and future plans.

Thanks to the event’s sponsor “Enerstena” Group of Companies, two interesting site visits were organized: the bio-cogeneration plant “Foksita” and “Grigeo Grigiskes“- paper and wood industry company group.

“Enerstena” Group of Companies designs and manufactures biomass boilers, flue gas condensers, furnaces and other technological equipment for biomass boiler plants. Company implements projects from inception to the "turnkey"; it also provides automation and maintenance services.

The first stop was to paper and wood Industry Company “Grigeo Grigiskes”, which has a 10 MW biomass boiler for production of heat and hot water and an 18 MW biomass boiler for production of steam for technology needs. The company has been particularly active in strengthening its heating facility infrastructure and its technical base, thus actively contributing to Lithuania’s international obligations to increase the use of renewable energy sources in energy production and optimizing production costs.

Second stop was JSC “Foksita” CHP biomass plant. The total installed capacity is 4.99 MW power and 34.5 MW heat. The power generated in this CHP plant is used both for own use and for the Kaunas city power grid. The total production of the plant is around 209 000 MWh (including 169 000 MWh heat and 40 000 MWh electricity). The plant has 3 x 10 MW boilers with integrated dry type economizers. Each boiler is followed by an electrostatic filter which has the smoke cleaning efficiency of 99.8 %. There is also a separate 6 MW condensing economizer with full condensate cleaning system. The biomass used in this CHP is wood chips (30- 55 % moisture), forestry residues and also straw (up to 10 %). The plant was engineered and manufactured by already mentioned “Enerstena” group of companies.

Recently, “Enerstena” has won another international competition and it signed a contract on 8 July concerning the construction of 7 MW biofuel boiling room in the city of Nowy Sacz, Poland. The project scope provides for the design and the installation of a new 7 MW biofuel water heating boiler with a moving grate mouth, fuel warehouse and fuel feeding and ash removal systems. The planned biofuel boiler is of high useful action coefficient (no less than 91%) which enables the Customer to use biofuels efficiently. The smoke cleaning system is in conformity with the most recent European Union requirements as well as Polish requirements.

Biomass energy in Lithuania helped to improve social and economic situation in rural regions, offered solutions for better land use. It also improved foreign trade balance of the state, finally - increased energy independence and environmental situation. Perhaps an example should be taken?

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