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THE USE OF BIOMASS IS ALREADY A REALITY

Foto: de izq. a dcha. Carlos Castrejana, de BIOTERNA; David Sánchez, del Departamento de Biomasa de CENER Rafael Muguerza, Director del Servicio de Innovación del Gobierno de Navarra y Elena Baeza, del Departamento de Desarrollo Rural y Medio Ambiente

As part of the activities of the Science and Technology Weeks, the Government of Navarre, through the Navarra Innovation Agency, CENER and the company Bioterna organized a day in the Planetarium at Pamplona with the aim of getting to know the European Project BIOCLUS, that aims to secure the sustainable use of biomass as a power resource, and to bring biomass and its potential applications to the greater public.

BIOCLUS, a project involving 20 European partners, aims, over three years, to increase the competitiveness of the biomass in five regions: Central Finland, Navarra, Macedonia (Greece), Slovakia and Wielkopolska (Poland).

Navarra is a leading community in renewable energies and within this sector; biomass is increasingly claiming its role as an energy source with data crediting the growth in the use of this resource. The biomass sector generates more than 1000 jobs in Navarra, consumes and/or reuses 550,000 tons per year of organic waste that would otherwise be of no use, it costs considerably less to use than other energy sources such as natural gas or diesel and most importantly, it is a fuel that is already used for heat production in public spaces in towns like Ezcaroz, Ochagavía or Señorío de Bertiz, and for the use of liquid biofuel or to generate electricity, among other applications.

As highlighted in the presentation day for the BIOCLUS European project, which included representatives from the four agencies involved in Regional Community Development: The Department of Innovation, Business and Employment, Department of Rural Development and Environment, the National Renewable Energy Centre (CENER) and the company BIOTERNA, the use of biomass is appealing not only for the environmental benefits it provides, but also for the economic benefits it brings. In addition they all agreed that “biomass is already a reality in Navarra.”

As David Sánchez, from the Department of biomass at CENER, Technology Centre coordinator in Navarra explained, the BIOCLUS project aims over 36 months, of which the first 12 have elapsed, to analyze the current situation of the sector, carry out a strategic agenda that includes an action plan to boost the sector in each of the participating regions and all with the goal of strengthening the skills and knowledge of R & D in Biomass.

For Rafael Muguerza, Director of Innovation of the Government of Navarra, participating in a European project of this type enables companies to get an insight into the best knowledge that exists in Europe on the issue and ascertain how sectorial policies are designed in other regions.

In the case of the Department of Rural Development and Environment of the Government of Navarra their support for the project is twofold, explained Elena Baeza of the Forest Management Section. “On one hand, the consideration of biomass as a material with undeniable environmental benefits and the other the value of the project as an engine of rural development through the creation of new jobs.” Baeza also peppered her presentation with examples of public spaces using biomass to heat their facilities.

The term biomass means any raw material from renewable sources that can be used as an energy source and has its origin in organic matter. Thus the origin of agricultural biomass can be: cereal straw or wood or forest waste: cutting residues, forests, etc.., industrial, if the waste came from the agri-food sector or wood, or from urban sources: when it comes to algae, municipal waste … This diversity of materials used for production, also leads to a diversity of applications because the biomass can produce steam, heat, electricity, biofuels, etc.

Just one example of the conference in terms of applications of biomass was BIOTERNA the Navarra company that has been producing biomass pellets for the production of heat and hot water for domestic and industrial use since 2007. As Carlos Castrejana explained, the pellet has an equivalent performance to diesel and although it is a solid material it has a high calorific value. For Castrejana, thermal use of biomass has a very high growth potential and is a safe bet, which besides saving money, uses renewable energy.

The conference, attended by over thirty people, was organized in the framework of Navarra Innova Fair, as one of the main innovations of the Science, Technology and Innovation Week 2010, organized in Navarra by the Department of Innovation, Business and Employment, through ANAIN, and nationally by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through FECYT.

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