Biofuel is expensive
Vilma Baturo, the director of the Lithuanian Biomass Energy Association “Litbioma”, assured that when biofuel became more expensive this year, we had to listen to all kinds of talk: “We have heard that we are increasing the price for “Zulikai” and are taking advantage of the situation. It’s natural for people to react like that when they’re not really into the situation.”
As she explained, Lithuania worked with Belarus for several years, then cheap biofuel was transported from this country.
“Because it was cheap, everyone was happy and no one wanted to change anything,” she mentioned at the “GreenTech Vilnius” forum dedicated to green economy, energy and transport in Vilnius on Thursday.
But, according to her, no one could have predicted that Russia would start a war in Ukraine and that the supply from Belarus would stop so suddenly. Lithuania suddenly lost 30-40 percent. biofuel raw materials.
We have state forests, so we have raw materials, but the supply takes time, and at the moment it is somewhat stuck.
In addition, the price of raw materials has also increased, making up about 70 percent. biofuel prices. Therefore, as raw materials become more expensive, so does biofuel.
“General inflation, rising wages of employees, rising fossil fuel prices also have an influence,” she said, mentioning that in any case, the price of imported fossil fuel is about 7 times higher than biofuel this year.
Also, according to her calculations, replacing other fuels with biofuels helps Lithuania save about 230 million per year. EUR without VAT, and in 2017-2021 about 1 billion has already been saved. EUR without VAT.
V. Baturo also mentioned ecological benefits. Since 2000, when biofuels began to be used more widely, the amount of CO2 emissions in the district heating industry has decreased by about 70 percent.
Change is needed
“When we talk about energy, many always think of electricity first, even though the heat sector in Lithuania is twice as big as electricity. If we don’t solve any problems in it, it affects the whole country, all the inhabitants”, she said.
And there is something to change, according to her. According to her, Lithuania should use even more biofuel, so that at least 85-90 percent centralized heat would be produced from it. Currently, 75% of biofuel is produced. heat
At that time, around 80% of private households were heating with biofuel, and it is not expected that this figure could change next year.
The industry uses about 35 percent for energy and production. of biofuel and this, in V.Batur’s opinion, is far too little. The use should increase to 40 percent next year.
About 12 percent of electricity is produced from biofuel, next year due to the operation of the Vilnius cogeneration power plant, the number should rise to 15 percent.
V. Baturo also pointed out that in 2009-2012 the period of operation of the installed biofuel boilers will end in 2025-2026, because the boilers work efficiently for only about 15-20 years, but for now, according to her, there is no plan and no attention from the authorities for this.
“We have nothing,” she snapped.
He presented how he will try to reduce heat prices in Vilnius
At that time, the head of Vilnius heat networks (VŠT) Gerimantas Bakanas reminded that this year, in order to reduce heating prices for Vilnius residents, they had to take quick decisions that did not please everyone. Vilnius purchased low-sulfur fuel oil and thus during the heating season, about 100 million will be saved. euros.
“I’m not happy or proud of it, but you have to have a plan B,” he said at the forum.
However, G. Bakanas assured that at least VŠT has a strategy already in 2030. would like to be completely off fossil fuels. If everything goes smoothly, renovations and reconstructions of heat points will be carried out, perhaps even earlier – in 2027.
“It is to be welcomed that the state encourages market participants to use biofuel, but hearing rumors that the European Commission is starting to consider whether biofuel is really so green and sustainable, we also evaluated that.” Therefore, we started thinking about the integration of energy branches – heat production, cooling, electricity, electric or hydrogen-powered transport.
And, for example, starting the centralized cooling project in Vilnius would reduce energy consumption, as well as heat prices.
We are also thinking about the integration of decentralized sources, because, for example, office buildings emit a lot of heat into the air, although heat networks could take that heat back and use it a second time”, said G. Bakanas. The remaining heat could also be collected from shopping malls or other large buildings.
He assured that the storage of heat in large tanks will also be developed in Vilnius, following the example of some European countries, especially Scandinavia. “This will also reduce burning. Today we burn waste, but we have to think about how to sort it even better,” he said.
He admitted that the management is already somewhat outdated and it also needs changes.
“Of course, a digital transformation of infrastructure management is also necessary, because although all centralized heat networks have professional people with experience, everything is controlled by algorithms and human hands. We should move towards innovation, modernize and make network management more efficient,” G. Bakanas presented another plan.
According to him, in the next couple of years, residents of the city of Vilnius should no longer experience problems due to high heating prices in the cold season, but for smaller cities and towns such a risk will remain, because many smaller settlements are still heated with gas, so price jumps and fuel shortages are possible.
“Vilnius will be safe from the end of next year or after one and a half, two years. We will no longer see heating price waves and we will be calm. But there are smaller cities in Lithuania that today mostly use gas boilers and are completely dependent on gas,” said G. Bakanas, mentioning that the main problem with this is that medium and smaller cities do not have the funds to replace boilers, so this problem should be addressed state.