Guidelines for stakeholders in bio-coal supply chain: Hypothesis based on market study in Finland and Latvia

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1 Baltic Bioenergy and Industrial Charcoal Guidelines for stakeholders in bio-coal supply chain: Hypothesis based on market study in Finland and Latvia Lei Wang, Jukka Hyytiäinen, Esko Mikkonen The Development of the Bioenergy and Industrial Charcoal (Biocoal) Production (Report of BalBiC -project cb46) Report 4/2013 Market research

2 Title: Guidelines for stakeholders in bio-coal supply chain: Hypothesis based on market study in Finland and Latvia This report has been written in project The Development of the Bioenergy and Industrial Charcoal (Biocoal) Production (BalBiC ) partially financed by Central Baltic INTER- REG IV A Programme The content of the publication reflects the authors views and the Managing Authority cannot be held liable for the information published by the project partners. Publisher: University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences Authors: Lei Wang, Jukka Hyytiäinen, Esko Mikkonen Department of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 27, FIN Helsingin yliopisto, Finland Printer: Unigrafia Viikki, Infokeskus, Helsinki

3 Table of Contents 1. Biomass Logistics of biomass Design of bio-coal supply chain Driving force map of bio-coal sector Restrictions of the development of bio-coal sector Competition in the bio-coal sector Business models for the bio-coal sector Pricing A SWOT analysis information of the Finnish bio-coal sector

4 1 Biomass The following are the important factors/issues to be considered in planning and utilization of wood based biomass resources: Forest owner's attitude towards harvesting of bomass Influence on biomass harvesting from activities of other stakeholders' and opinion influencers (e.g. neighbors, environmental NGOs, forest industry) Legislation, policies and instruments supporting bioenergy (e.g. forest management legislation, renewable energy policy, subsidies, environmental tax) National security requirements for energy supply Biomass supply and procurement, operations and processes Availability of services and marketplaces in the biomass business Price of energy wood and forest residues Price of round wood and its effect to price of forest residues Cost of biomass harvesting and transportation Economic feasibility of bioenergy use (e.g. proximity to processing point or enduse point, profitability) Regional biomass supply and projected biomass consumption Existing database and knowledge on biophysical availability and potential inventory of biomass (e.g. biomass volume, location, age) Environmental impact of biomass removal Consideration of carbon accounting (e.g. carbon sequestration and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emission rate) Biomass is managed and utilized in a sustainable manner Available and cost efficient logging system and pre-treatment machinery for biomass harvesting Harvesting site productivity and harvesting methods Forest management includes optimal harvesting plans; integrated harvesting of roundwood and biomass (e.g. thinning and rotation length) Availability of quality control, standards and certifications of biomass Notes: Political factors and environmental factors are the most effective drivers in the biomass procurement decisions (The highlighted factors) according to the study results. 4

5 2 Logistics of biomass The following are the issues have to be considered in the logistic of biomass: Physical features of biomass, e.g. biomass type and characteristic Quality of biomass Moisture content of biomass Quantity of biomass assessed before and after dry Quantity, quality and cost of biomass (e.g. annual yield) Harvesting season and condition Required machinery and equipment for different types of biomass Forms of carrier (including loading capacity by different types of biomass) Size, weight and shape of biomass which is important for transportation and storage Carrier loading and unloading cost Type and value of other biomass services, e.g. roadside chipping Availability of roadside storage Accessibility and competition for biomass Availability of infrastructure, e.g. forest road Length of transportation Location of the logistic centre/biomass distribution centre Who is the buyer of the biomass, e.g. chipping companies or bio-coal manufacturer Location of bio-coal production sites Number of bio-coal production sites Notes: Physical characteristics of biomass and transportations are the most effective issues in the biomass logistics (The highlighted factors) according to the study results. 5

6 3. Design of bio-coal supply chain The following are the principles to be considered in designing of bio-coal supply chain: Adoptable for all products, bio-coal and by-products Emphasis on market access for small companies because bio-coal business depends on proximity of raw materials Emphasis on market access for new actors due to improved technological/ logistical solutions for biomass Modifying existing supply chains of forest products and fossil fuel, as bio-coal is a combination of these two Expecting a change and redistribution of tasks and power within the bio-coal supply chain as the bio-coal market is immature and volatile Horizontally structured: all members of supply chain are important, no single dominant player. It is because the new market area needs collaboration Based on the vision of replacing use of mineral coal as utilization plants/ households can switch from mineral coal to bio-coal without any modifications 6

7 4. Driving force map of bio-coal sector The following is the driving force map of the bio-coal sector. We suggest that the development of bio-coal sector needs to consider all the four factors. A RESOURCE/production driven: technology and raw materials dominate business thinking. Low level of relationship, low information and services to the end users B PROFIT driven: bio-coal business promises high income, companies choose to participate for profit E Mix of Resource, Customer, Policy and Profit POLICY driven: governmental authorities control and plan the business (bio-administrated); high level of subsidies and regulations D CUSTOMER driven: end use markets dominate business thinking, the whole business is designed to fulfill end-users needs C 7

8 5. Restrictions of the development of bio-coal sector We identified the following factors are the major restrictions in the development of biocoal sector: Lack of advanced technology in production, transportation and utilization process Low or uncertain profitability Lack of political support Lack of innovations in production and application Competition due to already established markets for other wood based bioenergy products Bio-coal production and transportation is viewed as more environmentally hazardous when compared to Other wood based bioenergy products High price of the end product Too many wood based bioenergy product options available Bad image reflecting from mineral coal and traditional charcoal Note: Companies need to overcome the above challenges, especially the highlighted factors. 8

9 6. Competition in the bio-coal sector We described the competition environment of bio-coal sector based on the following criteria: Bio-coal manufacturers and supply chains are mainly localized and small in size No threat on local entries, normally about one bio-coal manufacturer in 50km radius Low competition in bio-coal business The potential local competitor can come with sufficient biomass terminal, e.g. near railway facilities and harbour There are few large potential buyers for the bio-coal that have strong power in the business, e.g. centralized power plants Bio-coal has potential to become a critical input for buyers, e.g. for power plants Existing technology limits product differentiation in the bio-coal business Bio-coal has many competitive substitute products Strong competition with other wood based and agriculture based energy products such as pellets, straw, bio-oil and bio-gas The biggest problem in the bio-coal investment is the uncertainty about its profitability 9

10 7. Business models for the bio-coal sector We would like to suggest the model 1 for the current bio-coal business: 1) Depend on local biomass resources; 2) Short biomass transportation distance or longer biomass transportation with additional terminals; 3) Focus on both industrial end-users and private end-users; 4) Prefer direct sales to industrial end-users; 5) Sales to private end-users through intermediaries. We would like to suggest the model 2 for the future bio-coal business: 1) larger biomass inventory (whole country biomass resources); 2) biomass terminals are necessary elements; 3) large-scale production; 4) mainly for export markets. Model 1 Model 2 10

11 8. Pricing Significant changes should be made in the following areas in order to reduce the cost of bio-coal products: Effective sourcing and procurement system to lower the cost of biomass Optimal forest management to lower the cost of biomass Improve technology and efficiency of logging system and lower the cost of forest operations Choose suitable carrier and system to lower the transportation cost Use more roadside storage and lower the pre-storage cost Update technology and lower the production cost Apply technology integration (R&D) to lower the production cost (e.g. sharing technology and system) Build warehouse integration in the supply chain to lower the storage cost (e.g. sharing resource planning, warehouse facilities) Improve operational performance to lower the storage cost Build long term contract with large scale users to lower the packing and sales cost 11

12 9. A SWOT analysis information of the Finnish bio-coal sector Strength Weakness Substantial forest biomass. Tradition in use of wood as energy in the household and industry. World-leading forestry industry in Finland, and forest energy which can be easily adapted to the Finnish forest sector. No competition in the bio-coal sector yet. Optimal product for co-firing in coal-fired power plants. Many measures enforced by the Finnish government to implement its renewable energy policy, which is in favour of bio-coal. Intensive R&D in the bio-coal sector. Improving the versatility of the Finnish energy system, its self-sufficiency, and sustainable energy security by developing bio-coal. Significantly enhances regional policy, employment and energy security by the bio-coal industry. Reducing CO 2 emissions by replacing coal with bio-coal. CO 2 neutrality of bio-coal and other by-products produced in Finland. Superior environmental credentials of bio-coal compared to other wood based bio-fuels. Opportunity Currently, the main wood biomass is by-products of the forest industry; the use of biomass directly from forests is not yet mature. No existing well-structured biomass market; weakness due to the new market. Poor knowledge of bio-coal among end users. Not easy to trace bio-coal activities in Finland No existing industrial demand for bio-coal in Finland. Uncertain economic feasibility of bio-coal production in Finland. High investment costs. Price competition with coal and other bio-fuels. Lack of quality standards and certification. No national incentives to support use of bio-coal. Effects of residue removal on forest ecosystems. Emissions during the harvesting, transportation, and production process. Threat The national target for renewable energy in favour of bio-coal production. Big potential markets and end uses both on the industrial scale and small-scale householders. Growing market for bio-char and distillates as soil improvers, activated carbon, and odour prevention, etc. Bio-coal complying with the construction of the bio-economy. National sustainability development needs decentralised local economic scale of bio-coal production. Rural development benefiting from the development of the bio-coal industry. High growth potential. Lack of efficient and economical distribution system of biomass and bio-coal. Competition with fossil coal and other wood-based bio-fuels. Product and technology development still in infancy, the long launching period. 12

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