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Energy Control by Information Flow (ECOINFLOW)

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The Ecoinflow project was a three-year research project, co-financed by the European funding program Intelligent Energy Europe II. The main objective was to implement tailor-made Energy Management Systems (EnMSs) in sawmills and thereby reduce the annual energy use in the European sawmill industry. The project has promoted the sawmill industry through international engagement, collaboration and knowledge transfer. Partners from research institutes, sawmills, sawmill industry associations, and equipment suppliers have been actively involved in the project, representing nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom). The project has successfully raised the awareness of the benefits that an EnMS could have on sawmill businesses.The project aimed at energy savings of 1 TWh, a number that has shown too be too ambitions within the frames of the project. Estimated energy savings of 190–490 GWh have been achieved during the project period, but the ground is set to reach at least 1 TWh within the next 3–4 years. 27 sawmills have started implementing an EnMS, which means that energy savings resulting from the project will be realised in the coming years.The main project outcomes are:
  1. The SawEnMS handbook
  2. The SawBenchmark tool
  3. An Inter-European strategy for reduced energy use
The handbook and the benchmark tool are available in English, French, German, Latvian, Norwegian and Swedish.

Results

  • Development and promotion of guidelines for implementing Energy Management Systems in European sawmills.
  • Establishment of sawmills networks enabling knowledge transfer and training of operators.
  • Identification of key performance indicators and good practices for energy efficiency in the European sawmill industry.
  • Development of an online energy benchmarking tool for all EU sawmills.
  • Reduced energy consumption and improved profitability of the European sawmilling industry.
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Lessons learned

  1. EnMS are not common in sawmills in Europe and it takes a lot of effort to get the companies really involved in energy management. International funding frameworks for introducing EnMSs in Europe are versatile. The discovered EnMS at sawmills are implemented because of beneficial economic programs or subsidies from governments.
  2. The sawmill industry is very heterogeneous across Europe. E.g. sawmills in the north applies industrial drying of all wood products, whereas sawmills in the more southern parts of Europe may not artificially dry anything. The companies must be aware who they compare themselves with using the benchmarking tool.
  3. At the time of project proposal, the partners were aware that the information about energy use in the sawmill industry limited. There is a willingness to save energy, but the lack of measuring systems is a major bottleneck in proofing that by installing EnMS cost reductions can be achieved.
  4. The main project meetings with the consortium are important to avoid misunderstandings and agree on further project progress.
  5. The project period was too short, considering the amount of work needed to establish a working group of sawmills in the network, develop energy management systems and strategies, and successfully implement EnMSs. The time from implementation until more long term results can be seen in terms of a cultural change of the staff and continuous improvement is not  realistic to achieve within 3 years.
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

Norsk Treteknisk Institutt
Norway
Contact point: 
Name: 
Mr Henning Horn
Tel: 
+47 22 96 56 00

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In brief

Duration:
01/05/2012 to 30/04/2015
Contract number: 
IEE-11-946

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