Hope and progress at World Bioenergy
Written by World Bioenergy 2012
June 1, 2012, Jönköping, Sweden - “The overall theme and impression during my morning in Jönköping was one of hope, inspiration and progress. So many different players, from all corners of the world, who are working with very diverse things, from wood chippers to computational models. And all of whom are contributing to a more sustainable long-term future. That gives hope. And inspiration. Many thanks for this!” The words are those of Sweden’s Minister for Information Technology and Energy Anna-Karin Hatt, who opened the trade fair and conference on 29 to 31 May, at which thousands of representatives of the global energy sector once again met during World Bioenergy 2012 at Elmia in Jönköping.
“It is a trade show in the true meaning of the term, where not only politicians, organisations and researchers take part but also companies – and companies with the aim of doing business,” the energy minister continued. No fewer than 143 exhibitors from 19 countries presented their products and services within a variety of segments to the global bioenergy sector.
“What a show of force! We actually had participants from a total of 1,320 companies and organisations from 63 countries and all continents here,” commented a satisfied Jakob Hirsmark, product manager at Elmia. “We also set a new record in the number of countries represented among the exhibitors.”
An extensive conference programme was held at the same time as the trade fair and featured five parallel sessions in three days.
“This year’s conference programme was broader than usual, as in parallel with World Bioenergy we also arranged World Pellets, World Biorefinery and Sustainable Bioenergy Day, with speakers from 34 countries and more than 600 conference participants,” said Gustav Melin, CEO of Svebio (The Swedish Bioenergy Association). “We also organised about 40 very popular field trips to various bioenergy facilities.” One such excursion went to the new biogas facility in the nearby municipality of Skövde. The facility produces 40 GWh/yr and is co-owned by Göteborg Energi and Skövde Municipality. There, visitors from such countries as China, Russia and Australia could see how waste from the food production lines at Arla Foods and Skövde Slakteri is transformed into environmentally friendly vehicle fuel for buses and cars.
During Sustainable Bioenergy Day it became clear that there is a great need for standardisation and certification in the fuel market – something that involves a risk of relatively high costs for smaller producers. Certified producers of biofuels therefore need to be able to add on a price premium, something that has proven to be difficult in many cases.
Topics discussed at World Pellets included the opportunities for further value-added products by means of torrefaction and the use of new raw materials from by-products such as agro-pellets in agriculture and lignin pellets in the forest industry. At the same time, the issue of electricity generation from biofuel was a hot potato at one of World Bioenergy’s sessions. As a counterweight to the discussion, the trade fair included several exhibitors who supply combined heat and power (CHP) plants in various sizes, such as Norway’s Viking Development Group, which has developed a pellets-fired CHP system for use in single homes. The system supplies up to 5 kW of electricity while also heating the house. Another innovative exhibitor was Sweden’s Meva Innovation, which supplies slightly larger systems in which the biomass is first gasified and then used by a gas-powered engine to produce electricity and heat with a relatively high degree of efficiency.
Enterprise Europe Network held another of its matchmaking events at this year’s trade fair. Industry players met at pre-arranged business meetings spread over two days to make new contacts that can lead to profitable joint ventures and business deals.
The World Bioenergy Award was presented for the second time, this year by Energy Minister Anna-Karin Hatt together with Kent Nyström of World Bioenergy Associatio and the initiator of the award, Jakob Hirsmark of Elmia, both of whom were members of the jury. Finalists were from India, Russia, Spain, the UK and the USA, and the winner was Harry Stokes of the USA. He has built up, funded and led Project Gaia, which aims to improve the health, economic situation and quality of life of a very large number of families in developing countries. He has led a global initiative that promotes techniques of producing and using alcohol fuel for cooking and household equipment.
“Since the global environment links the world together and since half the planet’s population lives in energy poverty, it is in everyone’s interest to support the use of biofuels in developing countries, not only for export but also for local use,” Stokes pointed out.
The positive response from participants in the trade fair, conference, matchmaking sessions and excursions created a taste for more, and a number of old and new exhibitors are already planning to return to the next edition of World Bioenergy in 2014.
About World Bioenergy
Organised every second year this major global bioenergy get-together is based on the unique “Taking you from Know-How to Show-How” concept, combining tradeshow, conference sessions, field excursions and matchmaking into one comprehensive event. Welcome to our web page to read more about the different parts of the event. 2012 the World pellets Conference is arranged as a part of World Bioenergy. Organisers: Elmia AB and the Swedish Bioenergy Association, Svebio. Venue: Elmia, Jönköping, Sweden. www.worldbioenergy.com