Local Cooperation in Rural Romania to Increase Biomass Market Uptake
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A local cooperation in rural Romania has the goal to increase the biomass market update to produce heat in the agricultural sector.
As part of the EU-funded project AgroBioHeat, this example showcases the benefits of locally available renewable energy sources in rural areas!
Sfântu Gheorghe is the main town in Covasna county, located in the Carpathian Mountain region of Romania and one of the smallest counties in Romania. In the 2000s the area had an abundance of sawmill dust, which caused multiple users to develop biomass-based heating systems for greenhouses, bakeries, meat factories, etc. However, from 2015 onwards there was increased demand from board industries, and therefore supply decreased.
At Dalia Ltd. (the largest greenhouse in Covasna county), the turning point was a subsidy project from the pre-accession fund SAPARD. In 2007 the project built new greenhouses, including a 4 MW biomass-based heating system, initially fed with sawmill biomass.
After the shortage of sawmill dust, Dalia Ltd. promoted actions to trigger new biomass value chains in the region, taking advantage of two opportunities. One was the availability of productive agricultural land, leading farmers to start new activity on willow energy crop plantations. Another was the woody biomass that can be obtained from green areas in Sfântu Gheorghe town or from environmental works to preserve the extensive pastures of local mountain ranges. These works are carried out by small, local companies of environmental works, which now became Dalia Ltd. Suppliers.
The new value chains started to supply biomass to Dalia Ltd. after the biomass boiler was installed in Valea Crișului, 5km away from Sfântu Gheorghe, in 2008 and it continues with a supply of up to 2,000 t/yron on a commercial basis today. The business is sound and able to supply woody biomass at 65 €/t (competitive with fossil fuels).
Through this model all actors benefit. Dalia Ltd. saves in energy costs and contributes to rural growth (with a new company established in 2019), while farmers get an additional income from biomass. The Green Energy Innovative Biomass Cluster is engaged in promoting the replication of the project.
Achieve sound business model and effective collection of biomass
Put into operation several medium-sized boilers able to heat more than 1 ha greenhouse
Expand capacity beyond initial facilities. Sustainable operation after the ending of EU-funding
Keys to Success
Good framework conditions & interest of all actors
Competitive technological solution; dynamization to create new supply through a SAPARD project
Incorporating new competences/expertise in heating energy supply at Dalia Ltd.
Engineering to install 6 Biosistem boilers with a total of 4,100 kW capacity at Dalia Ltd.
Local biomass boiler producer developing innovative boilers with efficiency >85% and dust emissions capture (patented with Politehnica University of Bucharest)
Unique design of storage and feeding systems for biomass
Initial investment in feeding system, storage and Biosistem boiler partly covered by SAPARD project
Non-subsidised reduction in Dalia’s heating costs (20% reduction)
Valorization of biomass materials from mountain pasture cleaning
All relevant actors of the local agricultural community are represented and receive positive dividends thanks to the initiative
All participants help promote the image of the initiative in local and national media
Project awarded at EU and national levels
The Horizon 2020 funded project AgroBioHeat “Promoting the penetration of agrobiomass heating solutions in European rural areas” aims to produce a mass deployment of improved and market-ready agrobiomass heating solutions in Europe. Agrobiomass is a large, underexploited, and indigenous resource, which can support the achievement of the European Energy and Climate targets while promoting rural development and circular economy.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 818369.
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