Polish Potential

The biomass market in Poland is growing rapidly and offers enormous opportunity.
By Lisa Gibson | July 28, 2011

With 92 percent of its energy still coming from coal and ambitious European Union targets to reach, Poland is on the lookout for renewable energy opportunities. That translates to opportunities for biomass companies, and Vancouver-based Carbon Friendly Solutions Inc. is taking full advantage.
The company has purchased 51 percent of pellet producer Carbiopel Eco Stream S.A., Poland, therefore acquiring Carbiopel’s existing Polish pellet plants, projected to produce up to 20,000 metric tons (22,000 tons) in 2011 and 80,000 metric tons by the end of 2016.

“In Poland, they’re looking to switch as much as they can to the clean sources, such as biomass for example,” says Slawomir Smulewicz, vice president and director of Carbon Friendly Solutions. “There are very rapidly growing markets in Poland.” The EU has a 20 percent renewable energy by 2020 mandate, and Poland has its own renewable electricity goal of 15 percent by 2020.

In 2008, energy production from renewable energy sources in Poland reached 228,277 terajoules and amounted to 7.7 percent of total primary energy production, according to the EU’s 4biomass project. Solid biomass is clearly the dominant source, making up more than 86 percent of that renewable energy production. Electricity production from biomass, including cofiring, in 2008 amounted to almost 50 percent of total production from renewable sources.

Carbon Friendly Solutions has been looking for a window into the Polish biomass market, Smulewicz says, even considering building a biomass plant of its own. “Finally, we found a company which already has the existing [facilities].”

And not only does Carbiopel have the pellet plants, but it has a supply contract with GDF Suez Energia Polska S.A., which is developing a 190-megawatt biomass boiler in Poland slated for completion in 2012. “They will need a lot of biomass,” Smulewicz says. “We would like to increase pellet production and be one of the major contractors for GDF Suez.”

Carbon Friendly Solutions would like to expand in Poland as well as out, including in other booming markets such as the Ukraine, Smulewicz says, where unused sunflower husks make excellent biomass feedstock. “We want to be one of the major producers of biomass.” 

—Lisa Gibson