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Overview on bioenergy and biomass



This session aims at reviewing the development of modern bioenergy, including some of the main factors contributing to its successful implementation. Bioenergy is the utilization of biomass resources for the production of energy. As such, it is perhaps the oldest technology ever used for energy. What is new then? What are the differences between using wood for energy in the past and nowadays? This presentation summarizes my own view on bioenergy and the main differences with past uses of fire-wood for domestic or industrial consumption. This session also briefly introduces the most common raw materials used for bioenergy in Northern Europe, and the different technologies associated to each of them, focusing and justifying those that will be developed along the course. 


Session slides [PDF] [updated version PDF]

The modern concept of bioenergy [video]. This video presents my views on bioenergy, and why it is more than the mere utilization of wood to produce energy. 

Energy from the Forest - Benefits for the Local Economy [video] This is a video summary of this theme of the course, and shows the different steps to produce biomass from the forests till the power plant. The video is shot in a small municipality in Finland, that has established a district heating plant to produce bioenergy. In Finland local bioenergy operators have combined forces in the harvesting and utilization of energy wood. Eno Energy Cooperative manages the entire production chain from harvesting to wood chipping, transportation, and heating plant operations which has resulted in many benefits for the local economy. Source: Wenet, The Wenet Centre Project is coordinated by Joensuu Regional Development Company JOSEK Ltd, the Kajaani University Consortium, and the universities of applied sciences of North Karelia, Savonia and Mikkeli. The EU Regional Development Fund co-finances the project with regional councils and development companies in Eastern Finland as well as Wenet's member companies.

NOTE that some of the course materials could also be found in hard copy at Röser, D., Asikainen, A., Raulund-Rasmussen, K. and Stupak, I. eds. (2008) Sustainable use of forest biomass for energy a synthesis with focus on the Baltic and Nordic regionVol. 12. Springer Science & Business Media


From the video, Energy from the forest- Benefits for the local economy identify the main sources of biomass for energy currently used in Finland.

Reading: Chapter 2. Forest Energy Resources and Potentials [e-book]




Why bioenergy has developed in some countries and not in others?

What are the current main sources of biomass in Finland? Will those be the same in the near future? And in your country?


[These questions may help the students to focus and reflect on the topic contents. They do not require to be submitted as an assignment and are not to be evaluated.]




This session focuses on:

  • Rationale and pre-conditions for modern bioenergy development.
  • Examples of modern use of wood for energy
  • Overview of biomass markets and origins