Friday, August 31, 2012

New innovative solutions to forest biomass supply in the EU

The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) is  coordinating a research and development project   ‘Innovative and effective technology and logistics for forest  residual biomass supply in the EU – INFRES’. The project is funded from the EU’s 7th framework programme.  INFRES aims at high efficiency and precise deliveries of  woody feedstock to heat, power and biorefining industries.
The challenge of European Union renewable energy   programme is to mobilize the existing forest biomass in  cost‐efficient and sustainable way. INFRES aims to   accelerate the technological development and to open paths to EU´s renewable targets by producing research based  knowledge, technological solutions and service innovations for forest residue feedstock supply.
Research projects alone are not sufficient to support the  development to reach the objectives of 2020. As a result,  the European Union’s research funding has been recently  targeted to innovation and demonstration projects. Also  INFRES concentrates to develop concrete machines for  logging and processing of energy biomass together with  transportation solutions and ICT systems to manage the entire supply chain. The aim is to improve the competitiveness of forest energy by reducing the fossil energy consumption and the material loss during the supply chains. New hybrid technology is demonstrated in machines and new improved cargo‐space solutions are tested in chip trucks.
Flexible fleet management systems are developed to run the harvesting, chipping and transport operations. In addition, the functionality and environmental effects of developed technologies are evaluated as a part of  whole forest energy supply chain.
Project consortium has 23 partners including 9 leading forest energy research organizations
accompanied with 14 SME’s along the supply chain. SME’s include manufacturers of harvesting
technology, chippers, feedstock supply enterprises, forest harvesting and transport providers, truck
technology and an ICT service provider to manage fleet and storages. Duration of the project is 3
years and the total budget is c.a. € 4.2 million.

Professor Antti Asikainen, Finnish Forest Research Institute,
Tel. +358 50 3913250
Researcher Johanna Routa, Finnish Forest Research Institute,
Tel. +358 40 801 5045
Principal scientist Eija Alakangas, VTT, Tel. +358 400‐542 454

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