Rapid growth: Wood energy and wood heating as an economic factor.

Holzenergie und Holzheiztechnik auf der Interforst

Fossil fuels will not be available indefinitely and are becoming more and more expensive. At the same time, our environmental awareness is increasing. Heating with wood energy is sustainable, CO2-neutral and cost-effective. As a result, this economic factor is increasingly being recognized as a growing market. At the leading trade fair for the forestry industry, you can find out how you could benefit from this and optimize your own business.

With its Wood Energy and Wood Heating section, INTERFORST 2022 will cover all aspects of this field: from cultivation in short-rotation plantations (SRP) to the storage and transport of wood fuel and even the various wood heating systems. Innovative technologies and systems, the latest scientific findings and a great deal of practical knowledge will be presented. An overview of the key topics:

Short-rotation plantations (SRP) as a basis for wood energy

In order to produce and use wood as a renewable energy source in as short a time as possible, fast-growing trees are planted in short-rotation plantations (SRP). In most European countries, this is only allowed on arable land. Depending on the rotation times, either agricultural mowing techniques or forestry harvesting techniques are used. The biomass produced can be used in the paper, cellulose or timber industry but is mainly used as woodchips for energy production. If an SRP is used exclusively for energy production, it can also be referred to as an energy forest.

The following providers exhibited at the 2018 event:

  • Landtechnik Stanggassinger GmbH
  • repack much e.U.

Energy forest

Energy forests too can be managed as short-rotation forests for three to ten years. They play an important role in energy production and are comparable with firewood forests. In the past, lime, sycamore and hornbeam trees were planted in firewood forests. However, today’s energy forests are made up mainly of high-yield, quick-growing trees such as poplar and willow hybrids – varieties which sprout again even after harvesting and can thus be used three to four times without replanting. Owing to the clone-like style of cultivation, poplars are at increased risk of fungal diseases. Plants for energy forests are therefore examined carefully for their resistance and growth properties, regeneration capabilities and production efficiency.

Preparing, storing and transporting wood fuel

In principle, all types of wood can be used as wood fuel, i.e. for producing energy through burning. However, wood can be used for numerous other, more useful purposes. Lower-quality wood from the forest, old wood and leftover wood from industry or wood types from short-rotation plantations or silvopastoral systems are therefore used for wood fuel. At INTERFORST, you can find out everything you need to know about preparing, transporting and storing wood fuel – and naturally about the right machines and tools such as large chippers, chipper cranes and mobile chippers and shredders, crushers, splitting machines, sawing and splitting machines and even screening systems.

Specialist exhibitors who were present in 2018 included:

  • Ulrich Brunner GmbH
  • Werner Doppstadt
  • Albach Maschinenbau
  • Eschlböck Maschinenfabrik
  • JENZ GmbH
  • Lochner Forsttechnik
  • Plaisance Equipement SARL
  • CBI Europe B.V.
  • Agromaster Oy
  • GROWI Maschinenbau e.K.
  • Pinosa Srl

Wood heating systems

From wood heating and wood gasification systems to combined heating systems: there are various wood heating systems allowing pellets, chippings and firewood to be used to produce energy and offering efficient solutions for both industrial use and private buildings. When selecting a suitable wood heating system, the following aspects should be taken into account during planning and the necessary conditions should be put in place:

  • Is there sufficient space for the heating system?
  • How must space is available for storing the fuel?
  • How much should or can be invested in a new heating system?
  • Can it be assumed that there will be no problems with the approval process?
  • Is a reliable supply of fuel guaranteed?

The following companies provided information about the various wood heating systems at the last INTERFORST:

  • Viessman Deutschland GmbH
  • Atmos
  • ETA Heiztechnik GmbH
  • Hargassner GmbH
  • HDG Bavaria GmbH
  • Holzenergie Wegscheid GmbH

How can wood be used efficiently?

Efficient use of wood

Wood can be used in many different ways – one of the best-known uses for wood is as a building material. In this case, softwood is mainly used. In contrast, hardwood tends to be used for heating purposes – at least at the moment. After all, the aim is to use new processes and methodsto turn hardwoods of lower quality and with a low stem diameter into long-lasting wood products. Making more from less is the new guideline – to ensure that wood as a natural resource can be used in the best way possible and recycled too.

For example, intelligent material combinations can be used when manufacturing chipboard to reduce weight and actually save raw materials. Lightweight building panels with a central layer of foamed polymers require only half the amount of wood during production but have virtually identical technical properties. Thanks to various high-yield procedures, significant amounts of wood can be saved when producing cellulose to make paper too. This is because the raw material can be used much more efficiently. The aforementioned short-rotation plantations provide above all wood chippings for the heating market or can be used to produce electricity from an energy forest.

The production of plastics or adhesives using wood is just as promising. Wood and woody annual plants are used to produce carbohydrates, hydrocarbons and aromatic compounds which can replace raw materials based on petrochemicals. Here too, it is important to think innovatively and develop new, suitable methods for making optimum use of wood as a natural resource.

Exhibitor application

Play it safe and find out about products, measures and training courses on the topic of safety and health in forestry.