MHG launches free Web-based biomass moisture calculator

Posted July 9, 2009, at 1:03 p.m. CST

Finland-based MHG Systems has launched a free calculator service on its Web site. This calculator reveals how the moisture level of biomass affects the profitability of the biofuel business. The service has been designed during several different projects and in cooperation with the Joensuu Research Unit of the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), the University of Joensuu and several forest biofuel suppliers. This tool will explicitly reveal the importance of acknowledging the effects of biofuel moisture levels on the profitability of the biofuel business and rapidly increasing environmental impacts, especially when the biofuel supply chains are not working properly. Biofuel moisture management and detailed documentation constitute an integral part of the MHG Bioenergy ERP service.

According to the lead designer of the moisture calculator, Professor Lauri Sikanen of the University of Joensuu, the biofuel moisture level can be influenced by choosing the correct storage location, covers and harvesting methods, and the right technical structure of the storage. The algorithm that predicts the moisture level must be incorporated into the transportation and storage maintenance systems. This algorithm can determine the moisture level and energy content of the storage at any given time based on the departure data, time and weather. "The algorithm is currently developed in the Finnish Forest Research Institute and University of Joensuu, and its integration to the MHG Systems' MHG Bioenergy ERP service is also under way," said Seppo Huurinainen, the managing director of MHG Systems Ltd. "We will receive more data from our fuel suppliers during this summer and autumn, after which we will have sufficient amount of data to accurately predict the moisture levels of forest biofuels in our service. MHG Systems' bioenergy industry ERP solution, designed specifically for the bioenergy industry, enables the customers to monitor the moisture levels of other biofuel deliveries (such as agro energy) in real time," Huurinainen continued.

Based on the research data gathered so far, it seems that the optimal moisture level with regards to the profitability of the business and environmental emissions would be approximately 30 percent. The typical moisture level of forest biofuel deliveries is currently almost 50 percent. MHG's moisture calculator reveals that this level will increase the costs of a forest biofuel delivery chain by nearly €240,000 ($332,450) for a heating and power plant in a medium-sized Finnish town. Measured in truck loads, it means more than 800 additional 60-ton truck loads of chips to be delivered to the plant. "If the fuel is to be delivered from young forest stands, the plant would have to buy, harvest, chip and transport 874 hectares (2,159 acres) more of them. All this additional work in the various stages of the delivery chain causes almost 500 tons of unnecessary carbon dioxide emissions," said Dominik Röser, a senior researcher of the Joensuu Research Unit of the Finnish Forest Research Institute. The new Web-based calculator will help, especially biofuel suppliers and investors who rely on the use of forest fuels, to evaluate chip requirements and to understand how the quality of their operations affects the profitability of their business.

The MHG Bioenergy ERP service is a true operative tool, designed for electricity, heating, pellets, forest industry and forest service companies. It can be used via Web browser or mobile devices. It is a specific bioenergy sector ERP system and map service solution, which provides valuable information for developing one's business operations. Bioenergy ERP allows the use of new, particularly contract-based, and empowering operational models. The superior features of the service include transparency throughout the delivery chain, managing the moisture content of bioenergy masses, reporting features based on the amount of energy, i.e. megawatt hours, and accounts and invoicing.

MHG Systems Ltd is one of the world's leading suppliers of bioenergy ERP systems. The company utilizes its partner network to produce customer-oriented IT and map service solutions designed for developing bioenergy and forest energy, and field work business operations. MHG ERP synthesizes mobile communications, the Internet, real-time maps, satellite-based location information, and CO2 monitoring into one business-enhancing service, and allows the use of new and empowering operational models, accurate cost monitoring and real-time enterprise resource planning of biomasses and delivery chains. The company's services bring significant cost savings to all operators in the bioheat, bioelectricity, and biofuel production chain. MHG Systems' services allow companies to verify the social and environmental responsibility of their operations, as the origin of biomasses, energy content and carbon dioxide emissions as well as expenses and profits can be reliably proven.

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MHG Systems Ltd.
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