Waste from glued wood - A base for new products and/or bio-fuel?
The Swedwood Company is a supplier to IKEA of wood furniture. They have grown larger concurrently with IKEA and at present they have 47 production units spread over twelve countries of which most are located in Eastern Europe.
One of the factories is Zbaszynek which is located in Poland. They manufacture so called board-on-frame furniture. A board-on-frame is basically made out of particle board frames which are filled with special design paper that enfolds air. The frames are then covered with their skin; thinner particle boards, so called High Density Fibre (HDF) boards, and then edge banded with plastic stripes and painted and lacquered into desired design.
This production generates not only furniture, last financial year Zbaszynek generated about 61 000 tons wood waste too. It can be compared to their total production of furniture which reached 439 000 tons during the same period of time. This generation of wood waste has caused a problem for Swedwood in general. A project called IKEA Goes Renewable (IGR) has started within IKEA with the aim to reduce the electric- and heat energy consumption and increase the use of renewable energy sources. But to be able to reduce the heat energy at a board-on-frame factory, such as Zbaszynek, there has to be an economic incentive to do so. But the wood waste is contaminated in comparison with waste from pure wood (free from adhesives, plastics etc.) so purchasers have been hard to find. And since the wood waste is used to generate the heat at the factories, the economic value has become relative low. Zbaszynek earn 1.4 €/MWh for their wood waste at present (energy value of 5.1 MWh/ton), while for example recycled contaminated wood chippings (RT-chippings) are worth about 7.3 €/MWh in Sweden (energy value of 4.4-5.1 MWh/ton). RT-chippings in Sweden are even allowed to contain more contaminations to receive that price, as long as it is not pressure creosoted. 1.4 €/MWh can also be compared to the economic value of coal which is about 13.7 €/MWh, and for district heating to households in Sweden was the average price about 68 €/MWh during 2007 (Energimarknadsinspektionen, 2007).Therefore, the main task of this thesis has been to investigate if there are any possible solutions to increase the economic value of the wood waste in Zbaszynek. There are more board-on-frame factories within Swedwood with the same problem, but Zbaszynek has been the pilot factory during this research.
The first thing which should be considered in Zbaszynek is to keep the amount of waste as low as possible. The main task should be to reduce the amounts of wood waste; in the end it is a furniture factory and not a waste producer, which should be concerned before taking any further action. It is assumed though that this has already been thought through in Zbaszynek and further investigation of the waste has taken place.The wood waste has been sent to the Eurofins laboratory in Sweden for an analysis and the test results were then compared to wood waste of pure wood. The comparison indicates the nitrogen content being the main difference between Zbaszynek's wood waste and pure wood. Nitrogen compounds, often referred to as NOx can cause severe damage to the environment and foremost lead to increased eutrophication (= Eutrofizacja (Polish) / Övergödning (Swedish)) when it is emitted to the air. Apart from the nitrogen contamination, other significant differences have not been found. The energy content of the wood waste has even revealed it would suit well as bio-fuel, on the condition that proper equipment to reduce the NOx emissions is present. It has been calculated that the energy content, of the generated wood waste in Zbaszynek during Financial Year 2008, reached 310 GWh. Which can be compared to the electricity consumption of 78 GWh as was bought during the same time of period.
Four main possibilities have been investigated in this report and they are:
- Selling the waste to cement producers as alternative fuel
- Make new products and use for furniture production again
- Make briquettes or pellets and sell as fuel
- Start up a Combined Heat and Power plant and produce electricity
All these alternatives have their advantages and disadvantages but they all seem to be realistic solutions, on a few conditions.
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