The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) co-ordinates the INFRES project, which is funded by the EU's seventh framework programme. The project develops technology, transport and ICT solutions to enhance the timber supply chain in Europe. "We want to speed up the growth of renewable energy use and introduce better products to the market", describes Researcher Johanna Routa from Metla.
Other participants in the project include the European Forest Institute and VTT as well as Finnish companies such as Kesla Oyj, Ecomond Oy, and Antti Ranta Oy. The project includes 23 research facilities and small and medium-sized businesses from all over Europe.
Enhanced transports and harvesting equipment
"The transport costs for timber are reduced through route planning programs that optimise the supply chain as well as through larger chip trucks that can take up to 90 tons. Fuel consumption in chipping is reduced e.g. with using hybrid technology in wood chippers", Johanna Routa explains.
New solutions are tested in real working environments in different parts of Europe – for example Italian stump pullers are tested in Finland and Finnish logger heads in Spain. "To ensure sustainable development, we compare the ecological, economic and social sustainability of the developed technologies as well as their benefits to the previous solutions."
Product development and new market knowledge
Within the INFRES project, Kesla is developing a hybrid chipper that uses a combination of two different power sources. This creates much better fuel economy than a traditional motor.
"We expect fuel savings of at least 20 per cent in chipping. Additionally, the chippers rotation speed is much easier to control, which improves the chip quality", says Kesla's CEO Jari Nevalainen.
Product development co-operation in the EU with future operators is also beneficial in other ways. "We get to take advantage of the project partners' knowledge on forest technology both nationally and internationally. At the same time, Kesla's knowledge on the EU's bioenergy market grows", Jari Nevalainen estimates.
The broad-based project speeds up Kesla's product development. "INFRES enables the development of new future technologies in Kesla's products. At the same time it gives us visibility in the European market as a developer of advanced bioenergy solutions."
Researcher Johanna Routa
Finnish Forest Research Institute
johanna.routa (at) metla.fi
Tel. +358 40 801 5045
CEO Jari Nevalainen
jari.nevalainen (at) kesla.com
Tel. +358 40 8307 750
Author: Anna-Mari Vimpari/Recommended Finland