Event under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy of Slovak Republic

Locally produced solid bioefuels for individual space heating – competitiveness with brown coal and heat pumps

*Jiří Beranovský
EkoWATT CZ, s.r.o.

Jaroslav Knápek
Czech Technical University in Prague, Fac. of Electrical Engineering, Dept. of Economics, Management and Humanities

Kamila Vávrová
Výzkumný ústav pro krajinu a okrasné zahradnicitví, v.v.i.

Július Bemš
Czech Technical University in Prague, Fac. of Electrical Engineering, Dept. of Economics, Management and Humanities

     Last modified: 2017-05-12

The purpose of the research
Currently app. 47% flats are located in family houses of which about 89% uses local boilers or local in house heating systems. About one third of households with local boilers or in house local heating systems uses solid fuels – namely domestic brown coal and fire wood. It is estimated that brown coal is the primary fuel for space heating for app. 300-400 th. households in small villages with less than 1000 inhabitants where about 30% of household are dependent on brown coal utilization. Utilization of brown coal in small emitting sources causes many environmental problems. There are two basic options for brown coal substitution (when assuming unavailability of natural gas) – solid bioefuels (based on locally available biomass) and heat pumps.
Competitiveness of local production of pellets depends on several factors: (1) local availability of biomass (straw, wood), (2) cost of biomass and produced biofuels logistics incl. losses, (3) cost of transformation into pellets and briquettes, (4) cost of technological switch from coal to pellets and briquettes utilization, (5) cost of heating based on heat pumps incl. cost of technological switch.
Economic analysis of local production of biofuels is based on simulation of the whole fuel cycle –biomass collection, biomass logistics, production of pellets and briquettes using pelleting and briquetting technological lines with annual capacity between 1000-2000 tones. Cost of produced bioefuels are compared with prices of bio pellets and briquettes and brown coal available on the market. The heating option based on heat pumps works with the typical technology currently being installed by households.

The principal results and accomplishments and their significance
Evaluation of economic effectiveness is based on the methodology of the minimum price of production. Analysis shows that the most effective ways of local production of biofuels from locally available biomass is pelleting (for small boilers) and wood chips (bigger boilers).
Minimum price of locally produced biofuels can be estimated between 7 and 12 EUR/GJ (biopellets) and 9 and 14 EUR/GJ (biopellets).
Analysis shows that brown coal is still the cheapest option of local space heating. Assuming similar prices of modern coal boilers and pellet boilers solid biofuels are not directly competitive with local brown coal. Similar results gives the analysis of heating based on heat pumps where the major obstacle are high cost of technological installation.

The major conclusions
Combination of heat pumps and solid biofuels seems to be reasonable option for the substitution of still widely used brown coal for local space heating in smaller villages where there is no access to the natural grid infrastructure. This would lead to the significant improvement of local air quality and reduction of solid waste. Local production of solid biofuels can also bring other side effects such as utilization of residual biomass, diversification of farmers’s activities, creation of new jobs. But this requires esp. introduction of system policies, such as support schemes aimed at local production and processing of biomass to increase competitiveness of locally produced solid biofuels.


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