Bioenergy ERP software helps track biomass

By Ryan C. Christiansen
Web exclusive posted Sept. 5, 2008 at 10:50 a.m. CST

MHG Systems Ltd. of Mikkeli, Finland, has released a new enterprise resource planning software solution to help biomass energy companies manage their businesses. Bioenergy ERP, which includes the components MHG Power, MHG Forest, MHG Terminal, and MHG Recycling, provides tools for managing biomass inventories, scheduling tasks, transportation, invoicing, and ash recycling.

The main user interface for the Bioenergy ERP system is a standard web browser. The system can be accessed from the field using laptop computers or Java-supported smartphones. For example, a forward contractor might scavenge timber harvest sites for suitable biomass. After the contractor has collected the biomass into piles, the contractor can use a smartphone to enter the location, quantity, quality, and the owner of the waste biomass into the Bioenergy ERP system. The program uses the smartphone's GPS receiver to record the exact location of the load. The contractor can also enter additional information about terrain-related factors related to the biomass collection site, such as frost heaves or the need to plow a road. Chipping contractors can then use this information with GPS navigators to optimize their routes to collect and process the biomass loads. Information about the biomass load quality can help the chipping contractor decide the best possible chipping time for each load and help optimize their transportation logistics based on the biomass needs of the power plant, which can also be tied into the Bioenergy ERP system.

Available in seven different languages, Bioenergy ERP can be integrated with other IT systems to consume and share data. According to Seppo Huurinainen, managing director for MHG Systems, the software is available for the global market but is currently being used mainly by European companies.

Huurinainen said the MHG Power component of the ERP system is being used by power plants in Finland, including Vattenfall Kaukolämpö Oy, Kotka Energia Oy, Etelä-Savon Energia Oy, Kuopion Energia, and a combined-heat-and-power company in Germany. He said the power component is also being used by forest associations, including Itä-Hämeen metsänhoitoyhdistys, Kanta-Hämeen metsänhoitoyhdistys, and Metsänhoitoyhdistys Pirkka for harvesting, hauling, chipping and transportation. The biomass terminal Hyötypaperi Oy is also using MHG Power, as well as the energy cooperative Enon Energia.

Huurinainen said the MHG Forest component of the ERP system is being used by the forest associations Itä-Hämeen metsänhoitoyhdistys and Kanta-Hämeen metsänhoitoyhdistys, as well as the silvicultural services company Suomen Metsäpalvelut Oy) and the energy company Metsäenergia Oy.