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Facilities of the municipality of Kiihtelysvaara, Finland heated by wood pellets


The municipality of Kiihtelysvaara is located in northern Karelia, about 35 kilometres east from Joensuu. There are 2,700 inhabitants in the municipality that covers 530 square kilometres. The inhabitants obtain their livelihood from agriculture and forestry, and increasingly also from the plastic and carpentry industries, commerce and other service sector occupations. The municipality decided to switch into wood pellet heating in its office block in August 2000. Before this, the block with the municipal offices, library and the regional fire department unit had been heated with firewood and electricity. The space to be heated in the office block is 10,340 cubic metres. The reasons for selecting wood pellet heating were clear: the low price of wood pellet heating, its domestic origin and user-friendliness in comparison to firewood. Good experiences abroad also supported this carefully prepared decision.

Automatic, efficient and economical

The investments were moderate in Kiihtelysvaara - altogether under FIM 200,000 (33 600 Euro), because the pellet burner of the office building was installed into an old boiler. The burner is a Swedish EcoTec-burner, with a maximum capacity of 300 kW. The dealer was JPK-Tuote Oy in Joensuu. The investments also included a new 25-cubic-metre fuel silo and screw conveyors.

The pellets are transferred from the silo into the burner with a bottom screw and a screw conveyor. The screw conveyor is activated when the surface switch in the rotary vane feeder signals that the fuel level is low. The screw transfers the pellets into the furnace to cover the whole grate. Air is blown underneath the grate. There are ventilation holes in the grate, allowing air under the pellets. Ash is removed over the walls of the furnace onto the boiler floor, from where a screw transfers it into two 50-litre ash containers.

The burner is automatic and needs little maintenance. It contains an airtight rotary vane feeder, powder extinguisher and a thermistor that monitors the backfire. The estimated efficiency of the boiler is 90 per cent.

The costs of heating, excluding tax, have been calculated to be FIM 190 per megawatt hour (32 Euro/MWh). This includes the investments in equipment, about FIM 40 per megawatt hour (6.7 Euro/MWh).
In addition, the price may be increased by FIM 11 per megawatt hour (1.9 Euro/MWh), if a flue gas blower and a fly ash separator need to be constructed. The 25-per-cent investment subsidy obtained from the Ministry of Trade and Industry has not been deducted from the heat price.

It has been estimated that the consumption of the pellets amounts to 100 tons per year, which as energy equals 500 MWh. The fuel silo must be filled approximately every ten days in winter, but in warmer periods once a month is sufficient.

Distribution facilitated by a sectioned trailer

Vapo Oy Energy delivers the pellets to Kiihtelysvaara from its pellet plant in Ilomantsi, 50 kilometres away (see the fact sheet of Valamo Monastery). Transportation takes place by a truck with an interchangeable container developed and constructed for wood pellet transportation by JPK-Tuote Oy. The vehicle is not limited for only wood pellet transportation and distribution. The distribution equipment is powered by the truck hydraulics, and hence no external power sources are needed.

The interchangeable container can load 18 cubic metres. It has been divided into three six- cubic-metre sections that can be unloaded separately. Thus the pellets can be delivered directly to private customers, and it is easy to load on the platform for instance the amount of pellets needed to heat a detached house during one heating season.

The unloading hatches are hydraulic. When the tipper is raised, the pellets flow onto the feeder. It measures the pellets onto the pressurised side of the blower run by a hydraulic engine, from where they are blown directly into the customer's silo through a flexible tube. The compressed air transfers the wood pellets up to 20 metres. The truck can unload ten tons per hour.

In long distance transportation similar full load trucks with blower are used. Pellets are blown into the silo of the customer and the minimum amount is 4 000 kg.

Kiihtelysvaara relies on domestic biomass fuel

The municipality of Kiihtelysvaara has made a decision to substitute domestic fuels for oil in all heating systems in the municipal buildings within the next three years. The oil-fired burners will first be replaced in the activity centres and schools and in the health centre.
A larger and regional heating station with its pipelines has been estimated to be too expensive, because the municipal buildings are far apart. As the heating solution of the office block is considered a success, the fuel to be selected will most probably be wood pellets.
In winter 2001, the price of wood pellets varies for large buildings between FIM 120-150 per megawatt hour (20 - 25 Euro/MWh), whereas the price of oil is FIM 250 - 300 per megawatt hour (42 - 50 Euro/MWh). It will pay to change into a domestic fuel, as the investments will soon be covered and the money that is spent will remain in the same province.

Technical data

Solid fuel burner

300 kW


Wood pellets

Heated cubic content

10,340 cm

Energy production

500 MWh

Pellet consumption

100 tons


FIM 200 000 mk


(33,640 Euro)

Start-up of operation


Source: http://ukrfuel.com/news-facilities-of-the-municipality-of-kiihte-8.html

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