The harsh northern climate, long distances and the structure of the forest industry were the key drivers to Finland becoming a global leader in the utilization of wood-based biomass for energy production. Rich in forest resources rather than fossil fuels, Finland has invested heavily on wide-ranging bioenergy R&D&I since the late 1970s. The results of this investment can be seen in the high share of bioenergy from total energy consumption in Finland.
In addition to wood-based biomass, Finland has produced leading technologies for power plants that utilize waste as feedstock. The plants typically use mixed waste from, for example, households, shops and industry to produce heat and electricity to local residential areas and cities. In that sense, the concept of the circular economy has long been present in Finland.
Large-scale combined heat and power (CHP) production is utilized extensively for both industrial processes as well as the needs of Finnish municipalities. Finnish biomass-based CHP boiler technology represents the cutting edge of power plant development globally and has been exported by many Finnish companies. Advanced boiler technologies significantly improve the energy efficiency of wood fuels and their co-combustion with other fuels.
Finland also offers technology for smaller scale operations, such as medium-sized CHP based gasification and engine facilities for small residential housing areas, which has been exported to different markets. Typically CHP production doubles the energy efficiency of the plant and can exceed 80%. The most advanced solution is to combine CHP to district heating and cooling systems. Finnish companies are the best in the world with these integrated solutions.