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Estimating biomass potentials, heat generation and demand



The development of succesful bioenergy systems require a detailed plan and estimation of available biomass resources. At the same time, it is important to understand the basics of heat and power generation, and methods to estimate the heat needed for a given area. This session will introduce the students with methodological aspects related to the estimate and quantification of woob biomass resources at different levels (biomass supply) as well as methods to estimate the energy needed for a given region or area (biomass demand).

Topic Material

Session 1

Estimating biomass potentials [video]. How much biomass there is available? This depends of the scale at which it is study. There can be methods to estimate local potentials (a stand, municipality, small area), regional potentials (a watershed, a region), country level or even global level. Each would answer different questions to different stakeholders (local owners, planners, policy makers), and have different data needs and methods applied. Within our own research, yield potentials of willow in Northern Europe can be found in Mola-Yudego et al, (2016) and Mola-Yudego (2010).

Session 2

Heat generation and heat demand [video]. What is heat? How is it produced on a bioenergy plant? How to estimate how much is needed? There are different ways to produce and distribute heat. The presentation reviews individual stoves as well as district heating. The main concepts related to heat generation are discussed, and some methods to estimate total heat demand are presented for a house or a region. 

Pellets and heat generation [video]. A brief introduction to pellets and their advantages and disadvantages. 

Session 3

Producing heat out of wood [video]. The video shows the production of energy for heat and electricity using wood from sustainable management. The video is a production of 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.

Session 4

The Hämeenkyrö bioenergy power plant [video]. This power plant is Pohjolan Voima's fifteenth power plant project, and can serve as an example of how a bioenergy plant works and operates. The power plant uses logging residue and other wood-based fuels and replace natural gas-based energy production.

Literature and reading Material

Roos, A., Graham, R. L., Hektor, B., & Rakos, C. (1999). Critical factors to bioenergy implementation. Biomass and Bioenergy17(2), 113-126. [PDF][PDF]


Tasks 1: Retrieve information about the heat and electricity production in Yangling/your own city: what are the main sources of energy? How is the heat generated? How it is delivered?

Tasks 2: Read the paper Roos et al, 1999, with special attention to the development of district heating systems (biomass district heating in Sweden and Austria). DIscuss and review a similar table for the implementation of districty heating in the province of Shaanxi. 

Tasks 3: Calculate the heat consumption and the wood needed to heat your house. Check the Tools for assistance.



This topic focuses on:

  • To discuss methodologies to estimate bioenergy potentials at different scales.
  • To review the keys of heat generation from biomass and methods to assess heat demand.
  • To review the main energy production technologies from biomass.



Forest Heat v2.0 [xls]

Forest Heat is a simple planning and decision support tool for wood-based heating systems created by the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla). This supporting tool enables users to calculate the most crucial decision factors which are:

  • the scaling of your wood-based heating system
  • estimating costs of the fuel and investment
  • identification of crucial factors needed to consider when making decisions
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