Finland: Consumption of forest chips falls in 2015

Photo by Erkki Oksanen/Luke

Heating and power plants consumed a total of 18.3 million cubic metres of solid wood fuels in 2015, down 2% year-on-year, according to Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE).

The main solid wood fuel used in the plants was forest chips – the consumption of which decreased by 3% year-on-year to 7.3 million cubic metres. Consumption fell by 9% in the combined heat and power production, but increased by 12% in the generation of heat. Together with the forest chips burned in small-scale housing, total consumption reached 8.0 million cubic metres.

“More than half, or 3.9 million cubic metres, of the forest chips consumed by the plants were manufactured from small-diameter trees. The second most common source was logging residue, at 2.4 million cubic metres. The use of stumps as raw material for forest chips came to 0.8 million cubic metres,” says Senior Research Scientist Esa Ylitalo of Natural Resources Institute Finland.

Consumption targets getting out of reach

The target set in Finland’s National Forest Programme 2015 for the consumption of forest chips in 2015 was at 10–12 million cubic metres, and that the target was not met. The current National Energy and Climate Strategy has set the target for 2020 at around 13.5 million solid cubic metres.

Bark is the main by-product

Plants consumed 1% less forest industry by-products and wood residues than in the previous year, a total of 10.1 million cubic metres. The main material used in burning was bark, accounting for almost 70% of by-product wood.

The consumption of solid wood fuels was highest in the Central Finland region, where most of the forest chips were also burned. Most of the by-product wood from the forest industries was burned in South Karelia.

Photo by Luke

Wood is the most significant energy source

According to preliminary data from Statistics Finland, wood fuels were the most significant energy source in Finland in 2015, accounting for a little over one quarter of the total energy consumption. Measured in terms energy content, the consumption of wood fuels amounted to 93 terawatt-hours (TWh), of which the solid wood fuels of heating and power plants covered 35 TWh, the combustion of black liquor 39 TWh, the small-scale combustion of wood 16 TWh and other wood fuels 2 TWh.


Source: Luke