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ŠUMARSKI LIST 7-8/2010 str. 4     <-- 4 -->        PDF



In July and August of this year, the Croatian foresters and wood technologists had the opportunity to visit
two very important trade fairs: “Holzmesse”, a forestry – wood technology fair in Klagenfurt, and “Interforst”,
an international forestry fair in Munich (Messe Munich). Those who attended these events claim that
both were dedicated to the procurement and use of forest biomass and woody debris from the wood processing
industry for the production of thermal and electrical energy. Within the Fifth Croatian Biomass Days,
there will be a Croatian-Austrian economic symposium in Našice on September 3, 2010, focusing on the
topic “Biomass (electric and thermal energy), biogas and biofuels”. The papers presented at the symposium
will be grouped into the following topics: Biofuels in Croatia, The Austrian Experience, Models of Project
Financing and Enhancement in the Republic of Croatia. There will also be specialist lectures related to cogeneration
plants and to new knowledge of biofuels in terms of legal regulations, markets and future strategies
in Germany.

An insight into what the Croatian Forestry Association (CFA), the company Hrvatske Šume, the Government
of the Republic of Croatia and the competent Ministry have undertaken in connection with the very topical
issue of bioenergy can be obtained from the reports of the Fourth Croatian Biomass Days and of
previous such events, (which we regularly publish in the Forestry Journal), as well as from the reports on
bioenergy-related activities of the Croatian Forestry Association (CFA). These issues are regularly discussed
at Management Board meetings, at annual conferences or within the CFA’s section established in 2005 under
the name The Croatian Biomass Association (a member of the European Biomass Association). A framework
has been provided for bioenergy use, stimuli have been put forth, the inclusion (sale) of biomass-based electrical
energy into the electro-energy system has been legally regulated, pellet plants have been launched, cogeneration
system projects have been drawn up and many other activities have been initiated. However, what
we want to know is this: what role does forestry play here? Where is biomass as an available energy resource,
whose structure and quantity have been discussed at a scientific symposium “Agriculture and Forestry
as Producers of Renewable Energy Sources” organized by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts,
or at a symposium entitled “Biological-Ecological Energy Characteristics of Amorpha in Croatia” organized
by the Croatian Forestry Institute, Faculty of Forestry, the company Hrvatske Šume and the Croatian
Chamber of Forestry and Wood Technology Engineers? Biomass from the realistically possible allowable
cut, which has so far remained in the forest, and more vigorous silvicultural activities of stand cleaning, thinning
and regeneration, which are becoming profitable in the form of new products and which are achieving a
good market price, would provide biomass potentials of up to 4.5 million tons annually, an equivalent of 2.2
million tons of oil (which we import). From the specialist, forestry aspect, it goes without saying that these
profitable activities, which are often lacking due to a lack of financial means, would substantially increase
the quality of the forest, enhance the value of its non-commercial functions and ensure sustainability. Exceptfor the two plants in Gospić and Ogulin owned by the company Hrvatske Šume, which produce thermal energy
for their own needs and for a smaller circle of other consumers, the majority of wood chips are soldmainly to foreign buyers via Hrvatske Šume’s daughter company “Biomasa”. Wood chips are mostly produced
from fuelwood, an assortment which has already found its place on the market, instead from so-called
“waste”, which continues to remain in the forest, not to mention biomass obtained from increased silvicultural
activities. For example, the Austrian state forests have in their ownership 30 cogeneration system and
they sell KWh as a finished product instead of as raw material. The wood industry of Gorski Kotar has been
among the first to recognize the need for building pellet plants (Mrkopalj, Gerovo, Delnice); however, they,
just as those in Spačva, Perušić and elsewhere, generally export their product. It is our opinion that the energy
sector development strategy of the Republic of Croatia up to 2020 sets down too many restrictions to biomass
use. We import fossil fuels, but we either produce too little or export these resources which could
otherwise satisfy a large share of our own needs or fulfil our international commitments. Namely, Croatia is
a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol and the Gradac Declaration recommendations, which unequivocally commit
us to reducing greenhouse gasses. Finally, to answer the question from the headline: no, we have not yet
made use of our possibilities. And yes, just like in everything else, we are making very sluggish progress in
biomass use.

Professor Emeritus Branimir Prpić, Ph.D.