Canadian Biomass Magazine

Quality Control
Obey optimizes bioenergy yield


February 24, 2012
By Walki Group

Feb. 24, 2012 - With biomass need increasing, companies are searching for new and better ways to optimize every aspect of biomass use, and the Walki Group has launched Obey to meet this need.

Feb. 23, 2012 – Since the global increase in energy use is showing few signs of
slowing down, sustainable energy solutions have to be developed. For
this reason, the energy of biomass has to be used more widely and more
efficiently. In forests all over the world a huge amount of logging
residue is left lying idle and the bioenergy unused. This could be
changed by using Obey, a procedure for optimizing bioenergy yield, based
on long, Nordic traditions.

Obey is an acronym for “Optimizing the bioenergy yield”, referring to
biomass used for producing energy. Walki, the leading producer of
technical laminates and protective packaging materials, has a long
experience of close co-operation with the forest industry and is
familiar with the advantages that the procedure behind Obey brings. In
order to promote the efficient use of wooden biomass globally, Walki is
now launching the website www.obeyinfo.com.

“Obey is about using the full energy potential of logging residue and
the trees cut down when thinning out forests. The first step is to let
the residue and trees dry in the forest before they are chipped and
transported. It’s a law of nature that the energy yield increases
significantly if you completely dry the material before burning it,
compared with burning damp wood,” says Walki’s Arno Wolff, Vice
President Sales & Marketing, Technical Products.

A complete procedure for sustainable energy yield

Obey embraces the entire procedure of harvesting, handling and using
wooden biomass in a sustainable way. An important fuel for energy
production is logging residue: the parts of trees that are left behind
after the trunks have been taken by the paper industry or to sawmills.
The other source consists of thin trees that have been cut down to
provide room for more profitable trees to grow. According to Obey, these
trees and parts of the trees are left to dry at the logging site for
three or four weeks before they are collected. This allows free and
environmentally friendly solar energy to dry the wood effectively, and
leaves and needles not needed for energy production drop off, providing
nutrients for the forest. Subsequently, the wood is stacked where the
sun and wind can dry it further.

“If the stacked wood is protected from rain and snow with a suitable
cover it will stay dry and not lose the attained energy value. Moreover,
the wood will be easy to handle since it remains ice-free. Walki’s
covering material Walki-Biomass Cover has been developed exactly for
this purpose. Since it is made mainly of fibre-based paper it can be
chipped and burned together with the logging residue,” Arno Wolff says.

Another step in the Obey procedure is to chip the wood close to the
stacking site in order to minimise transport volumes and thus reduce the
energy needed for transportation. If the biomass is dry, transport
efficiency is boosted further since trucks can be filled without
exceeding weight limits (no water is transported). Furthermore, by
storing only dry biomass, decay is avoided.

“To retain biofuel’s competitive edge, it should be utilized as close to
the harvesting site as possible. This is also favourable in terms of
local employment,” Arno Wolff says.

Biomass from the forest is the future

If Obey is implemented step-by-step, the amount of energy obtained from
biofuel can be significantly increased. The most important consequence
of this is that large amounts of fossil energy can be replaced with
renewable energy.

“Biomass is the most significant of the renewable energy sources in use,
and forest bioenergy is by far the largest source, with the best
potential to grow. Compared to many other bioenergy sources it provides
for good net energy output, in other words, processing doesn’t cause
energy loss. Furthermore, the conflict of whether biomass should be used
as fuel or as food can be avoided when using wood,” Arno Wolff says.

About Walki

Walki Group is a leading producer of technical laminates and protective
packaging materials, specialising in the production of fibre based,
intelligent, multilaminate products for markets as diverse as energy
saving construction facings to barrier packaging applications. Walki
Group has operations in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, the
UK, Russia and China with a workforce of about 1,000 people. Annual net
sales for the Group are 325 million Euros.

For further information about Obey, please go to www.obeyinfo.com.


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