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Vapo to supply pellets to Helsingin Energia for trial pellet combustion project

Today, 7 November 2012, Helsingin Energia started a trial pellet combustion project, with the first consignment of pellets from Vapo being unloaded at Helsingin Energia’s Hanasaari power plant. During the trial this autumn, 300-500 tonnes of wood pellets will be combusted at the plant. The pellets are being supplied from Vapo’s Turenki and Vilppula pellet plants.

Helsingin Energia is trialling the joint combustion of pellets and coal. Helsingin Energia aims to replace at least 5% of its coal with wood pellets from 2014. For the purposes of the trial combustions, a 100 m3 hopper has been built next to Hanasaari power plant, from which the pellets are fed into the coal stream ahead of the grinders.

Martti Savolainen is the Director of the pellet business at Vapo. He says that recently a new group of customers have been showing great interest in pellets. Pellets used to be thought of as a cheap and emissions-free fuel for homes and small-scale heating plants. Recently customers have been discovering pellets as an alternative in medium-size and even large heating plants for the very same reasons.

This autumn, Leppäkosken Energia has begun construction of a 3 MW heating plant, and at the end of October Vapo Oy and Tampereen Energiantuotanto Oy concluded Finland’s largest pellet supply contract to date. Vapo has undertaken to supply over 20,000 tonnes of wood pellets to Tampereen Energiantuotanto during the heating season. Tampereen Energiantuotanto’s 30 MW pellet boiler will start combustion trials in December. According to Savolainen, many other energy companies are following the operating experience with the new plants with interest.

Savolainen says that now and again there are rumours in the market place about pellet shortages, but these are totally unfounded. Vapo has production capacity for over 250,000 tonnes in Finland alone. It is currently estimated that Vapo will sell over 100,000 tonnes of pellets in Finland in this heating season. “We can easily take care of all our present customers’ pellet needs without further investments, even if demand doubles”, Savolainen says. 

For further information please contact:
Director Martti Savolainen, Vapo Oy, tel. +358 20 790 6474