– prediction of wind power plant capacity variation; research and modelling of wind flow variation in the Baltic coast and other regions of Lithuania;
– research of environmental problems of biogas and biofuel production;
– research of solid biomass preparation and combustion technology development;
– analysis of the use of renewable energy sources (RES) for energy production and assessment of utilization development;
– development of sustainable regional energy strategy;
– search, analysis and promotion of advanced technologies using local and renewable energy sources, preparation of accredited training courses, development of databases, services and consultations for users, spread of information.
In 2011 a state subsidy funded study The Research of Wind Energy Prediction and the Developmental Possibilities of Biomass Resources Use in Energetics was completed. Long-term data of wind speed and direction measurement, recorded using special equipment in coastal region, were analysed and variation regularities of energetic wind parameters were examined at different levels above the ground. The analysis of digital weather forecast data was carried out and compared to the measurement data of wind speed and wind power plant capacity (WPP). A model for short-term forecasting of WPP capacity was also developed. Moreover, following the up-to-date statistical data, the possibilities of using biomass and alternative fuel resources for energy production were analysed, technical-economic assessment of wind energy use was carried out, the scope of use and developmental tendencies of different renewable energy sources (RES) for heat, biofuel and electricity generation were evaluated. The environmental and social aspects of RES usage were also examined.
Research on environmental impact and efficient use of renewable energy sources for energy production
To implement the requirements of the European Parliament and Council Directive 2009/28/EB, and Strategic Energy Technology Plan, the Lithuanian National Energy Strategy provides for a notable increase in the use of renewable energy sources (RES) for energy production. Till 2020 the share of RES in final energy consumption is expected to reach 23 % (no less than 20 % in electricity sector, 60 % in central heating and 10 % transport).
Current and forecasted electricity production using different RES
In order to achieve these aims, it is necessary to examine different scenarios of RES technology development and analyse the scope and perspectives of RES usage. The Laboratory carries out research related to wind, biomass, biogas and solar energy use: RES conversion processes and their efficiency, developmental possibilities and up-to-date technologies are analysed, feasibility studies are prepared, wind energy parameters are measured, statistical data on RES usage are collected and analysed, recommendations of the implementation of demo projects and regional energy strategies in the scope of RES usage are prepared.
Recent data of Departmentof Statistics show that hydroenergy, wind and biomass energy sources are most widely used for electricity generation from RES in Lithuania.
In the future, the major share of electricity, produced using RES, will be provided by wind and hydroenergy. Since the development of hydroenergy in the major rivers is restricted under environmental requirements, whereas most of the smaller rivers are already exploited, a great deal of attention is also going to be devoted for biomass energy development.
Research of short-term prediction of wind power plant capacity variation
In Lithuania, the capacity of wind farms is rapidly increasing: it is expected that their total installed capacity will reach 500 MW in 2020, i.e. its contribution to the electrical energy system will be notable. Due to the constantly changing WPP capacity, the balancing of the system is becoming a difficult task which requires a short-term prediction of WPP capacity variation for facilitation. The Laboratory carries out the research on different methods of wind speed and WPP capacity prediction; it has developed and is currently improving a prediction model. The possibilities for practical application of the model for the Lithuanian wind farms were also analysed.
General structure of wind speed and WPP capacity variation prediction model
Integrated methodology applied in the model enables assessing the impact of local landscape, surface roughness and atmosphere stability on the accuracy of the forecasts. It was determined that the absolute error in WPP capacity prediction amounts to about 10% of the installed capacity. Statistical methods that enable specifying the forecasts in the range of several hours are also investigated.
Research of wind power plant operation efficiency
Since wind speed varies, WPP does not operate at its full capacity most of the time. Thus, the Laboratory examines the variation of WPP capacity usage. Monthly capacity factors of wind farms were calculated and compared. The results show that the factors change during the year and reach the peak inJanuary-March, while being the lowest in April-August.
Dynamics of annual capacity factor Cp of wind farms, operating in
different regions of Lithuania, in 2010-2011
It may be noticed that the variation regularities of the capacity factors of wind power plants, operating in different sites in Lithuania, are analogous, which suggests that wind flows are correlated not only in the whole coastal region, but also in other regions of Lithuania. The results of this research may be followed while planning the construction sites for new wind farms and predicting the annual amount of generated energy. Accurate calculations of annual productivity of wind farms are performed in the Laboratory using professional software WAsP. It is also employed for the analysis of wind speed and direction measurement data and the assessment of wind energy resources in various regions of Lithuania.
Research of developmental possibilities of biomass fuel use for energy
The production scope of different types of solid biomass fuel and technologies used for heat and electricity production are analysed in the Laboratory. As an energy source, biomass may be used in solid (solid biomass), liquid (biofuel) and gas (biogas) states.
The main resources of biomass include wood waste (forest cutting, wood processing and building waste) and agricultural waste (straw). Solid biofuel may be used as a raw or processed product (briquettes, pellets, biomass chips, sawdust). In Lithuania, the production of wood briquettes and pellets was initiated in 1994 and 1999 respectively. In 2008, the briquette productive capacity amounted to 65 thousand t/y, while that of pellets, to 125 thousand t/y.
The share of biomass in the total amount of RES used for energy production is the greatest.
Gross inland consumption of RES in 2010
It was determined that wood fuel consumption in 1990– 2010 period has increased more than twice, that is, from 284.9 ktoe to 934 ktoe, which corresponds to 2.6% and 13.3% of primary energy consumption of the state.
The use of biofuel in central heating supply (CHS) system
Following the requirements of the Lithuanian National Energy Strategy and EU Directives, it is necessary to increase the share of RES and other local resources in the production of central heating at the same time diminishing the emission of greenhouse gases. The Lithuanian District Heating Association and Biofuel Producers and Suppliers Association have an ambitious goal: to increase the share of RES and other local energy resources in the balance of fuel for heat production up to 70% of the total primary energy till 2020. In order to achieve this aim, it is necessary to develop an additional network of biofuel power plants having the capacity of about 1560 MW; the required investment amount to about LTL 1.1 billion.
Currently fossil fuel prevails in the Lithuanian heating sector, whereas natural gas and fuel oil comprised the major share of total fuel until 2003 and the use of wood and sawdust increased since 2004.
Comparison of fuel used in central heating supply system
Type of fuel 1996 2000 2001 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010
Natural gas 59,1 80,3 74,8 75,5 80,5 79,9 76,7 74,4
Fuel oil 37,9 16,4 21,1 18,5 6,9 5,4 4,1 4,6
Wood and sawdust 0,3 1,2 1,5 3,8 10,9 13,0 17,4 18,1
Other 2,7 2,1 2,7 2,2 1,7 1,7 1,8 1,9
The Laboratory has been carrying the research of anaerobic technologies of liquid organic waste processing for many years. It was determined that the rational use of these technologies could result in successful solution of many environmental, energetic, social and agricultural problems related to the reduction of environmental impact caused by industrial activity of companies. The environmental effect purports the fact that organic materials are effectively (up to 40–60%) decomposed in bioreactor under anaerobic conditions. This reduces the negative effect on the environment of processed sewage.
Different organic liquid waste is processed in 5 biogas power plants, presently operating in Lithuania, while biogas, produced in 5 more plants operating in dumping grounds, is used as fuel in stationary cogeneration power plants to produce thermal and electric energy. Having removed CO2 and other extraneous admixtures, biogas has recently been supplied to the natural gas networks or used as alternative fuel for transport in many countries. The Laboratory carries out exhaustive integrated assessment of biogas power plant efficiency by analysing the experience gathered in the Lithuanian and European power plants.
Guiding income scheme of biogas production from organic waste
Moreover, the Laboratory carries out the process analysis of advanced technologies for biogas production and the perspectives of biogas production development is examined.
The analysis of relevant legislation, and biofuel production and consumption suggests that a great deal of difficulties will emerge in the implementation of the obligations of Lithuania to the EU regarding the goals of using biofuel in transport sector (to use 15% of total amount of consumed fuel till 2020, and 20% till 2025) if no additional economic and organizational measures are taken. It was determined that bioethanol should be substituted for synthetic methanol used for biofuel production, which would enlarge the amount of RES used in the area of biofuel consumption.
Amount of biofuel to be consumed in 2005–2025 under relevant legislation
2005 2007 2009 2010 2015 2020 2025
Requirements for biofuel amount % 2,0 3,5 5,0 5,75 10,375 15,0 20,0
Scope of bioethanol production thous. t annually 7,2 12,6 18,0 20,0 35,0 50,0 70,0
Scope of biodiesel production thous. t annually 13,8 24,15 34,5 40,0 70,0 100,0 140,0
Usually bioethanol replaces a share of petrol in internal combustion engines; however, the possibility of bioethanol use in the process of oil and fat esterification and re-esterification as a substitute for the currently used methanol has recently been taken into interest. It was determined that during the process of biodiesel production, about 10% of technical glycerol, up to 3% of free fat acid and twice more of rape oil-cake (rape meal) than biodiesel are produced. The research demonstrated that technical glycerol may be used as liquid fuel and mixed with other oil products. Rape oil-cake may be applied for the production of protein feed, or for polymer films together with technical glycerol. Free fat acid, which results from biodiesel production, may be returned to the process by re-esterificating it with methanol and acid catalysts. The described measures can notably reduce the cost of biodiesel production.
The Laboratory, which also belongs to the open-access Alternative and Renewable Energy Centre, offers scientific research services related to the RES use and installation of up-to-date technologies, feasibility studies of wind energy and environmental impact assessment. The students are also welcomed to placements in the Laboratory where they can make use of the research data obtained by the researchers.
Cooperation with Vytautas Magnus University (VMU)
In cooperation with VMU Faculty of Natural Sciences, the researchers of the Laboratory gave lectures for the VMU students about RES technologies and their use in Lithuania. Practical activities were also carried out for the students of the departments of Physics and Environmental Sciences. Students were introduced to the specificity of electricity generation in wind turbines and operational principles of photovoltaic cells. The students take active interest in the development of RES use, work on placements, write course papers and thesis; in the future, with the help of Laboratory researchers, they plan further research and select study directions related to the use of RES technologies.
Participation in international programs
RES energy development issues important to Lithuania are analysed in the projects of international programmes. Studies related to the development of alternative fuel use in transport, wind energy and rational enhancement of biomass thermal and electric energy consumption are carried out in the Laboratory. Cooperating with German, Danish, Polish and other science research centres, studies of bioenergy development perspectives in the regions of Europe were performed. The main objective of the current projects is to provide considerable input to the implementation of the EU tasks in the energy sector pursuing that the share of RES in the region and in the total EU energy balance would satisfy the rates given in the directives and other regulating documents.
International projects carried out in the Laboratory in 2011
– Market Development of Gas Driven Cars Including Supply and Distribution of Natural Gas and Biogas (MADEGASCAR) 2007–2010 of Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (completed in 2011).
– Solutions for Biomass Fuel Market Barriers and Raw Material Availability (EUBIONET III) 2008–2011 of Intelligent Energy Europe Programme
– Public Energy Alternatives: Sustainable Energy Strategy for Regional Development (PEA) 2010–2013 of Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007–2013
– Wind Energy in the Baltic Sea Region 2 (WEBSR2) of South Baltic Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013.
During the implementation of the EU project MADEGASCAR, the possibilities and perspectives of natural gas use in Lithuania were examined. The experience of other partner countries in natural gas use was also analysed and quite a number of advantages of natural gas use were determined in comparison to other alternative fuel used for transport. The use of natural gas for public transport has begun in Vilnius, Klaipeda and Kaunas (the testing phase). The process of implementation of this project resulted in cooperation with other EU countries, building the first gas filling stations in Vilnius and Klaipeda and collecting experience in this field in pursuance of sourcing alternative and economical fuel.
The objective of EUBIONET III is to enhance biomass fuel use in EU countries by searching for ways to overcome market obstacles. The analysis of biomass fuel use, future perspectives and basic obstacles was carried out, national biomass programs were analysed and biomass fuel potential was estimated, giving most of attention to industrial and agricultural waste and assessment of potential of new biomass fuel types. Biomass fuel certification and sustainable development criteria were also determined. The main activities of the project:
– analysis of national biomass programmes and assessment of biomass fuel potential, giving most of attention to industrial and agricultural waste;
– establishment of certification and sustainability criteria of biomass fuel in cooperation with market-makers;
– promotion of new CEN standards of biomass fuel;
– assessment of appropriate use of biomass resources by analyzing the availability of raw materials in the industrial, forestry and agricultural sectors.
The scientific research projectPublic Energy Alternatives: Sustainable Energy Strategy for Regional Development (PEA) is implemented by 21 partners from 6 countries of the Baltic Sea region. Among them: 11 governmental institutions, 7 scientific research institutes and 3 coordinating partners. Lithuania is represented by the following five institutions: Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI), PE Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant Regional Development Agency (INPP RDA), Ignalina District Municipality Administration, Visaginas Municipality Administration and Zarasai District Municipality Administration.
This project creates an opportunity to collect and spread knowledge and experience in energy field as well as encourage the sustainable district development by cooperating on different levels, planning developmental guidelines and taking into account the attitude towards regional development. The aim of the project is to find appropriate means for reducing the costs of public utilities by using alternative energy sources. The main result of the project is going to be the development of sustainable regional energy strategy and its implementation in one of the regions.
Wind speed and direction measurement equipment financed by valley
Santaka is being prepared for use
The scientific research project Wind Energy in the Baltic Sea Region 2 (WEBSR2) analyses the legal basis for the development of wind energy and economic, technical and social issues impeding its development. Additionally, the problems, related to the accumulation and storage of energy generated in wind power plants, are being solved. Having assessed the existing obstacles, recommendations for the enhancement of energy development in Lithuanian and the EU countries are going to be prepared and provided to the municipalities, investors and project developers.
Wind Energy Information Point (WEIP) will be established in the premises of the Laboratory and opened for public. Its aim is to provide objective, science-based information about wind energy technologies, their impact on the environment and public health in seminars, lectures, excursions, training courses and other events. WEIP will also collect and provide wind power project developers and investors with information about the Lithuanian legislation, project funding possibilities, economic conditions, environmental impact and societal aspects.
Science promotion activity
In 2011, during the implementation of international projects in the field of RES, scientific ideas were spread to promote the society to take interest in the use of RES for energy production. Various science-promoting events were organized and researchers of the Laboratory prepared a lecture cycle and gave information about RES use for energy generation for business representatives, students and pupils.
Moments at the lecture given to the VMU students by Laboratory researchers
A seminar Innovative Sustainable Heating and Cooling Systems was organized in Kaunas where more than 70 specialists of various fields were introduced to 9 reports. The condition of energy, central and local heating of the buildings in Lithuania and Europe was analysed, renewable energy action plan was discussed and the activity of the European Technology Platform on Renewable Heating & Cooling was assessed. Moreover, review on biomass use for heating and cooling, prepared during the implementation of EUBIONET III project, was presented, current state of the European biofuel standards and EN plus certification proceedings of sawdust pellets were evaluated. Finally, biomass combustion boiler technologies in Lithuania and their future perspectives were considered.
Students actively participated in practical activities
Researchers of the Laboratory were given a great deal of attention during the “Open Days” on 5 May 2011 in LEI. The guests were introduced to the activities carried out in the Laboratory, the available testing equipment and devices planned to purchase in the future, as well as operational principles of solar and wind energy technologies.
In 2011 the researchers of Laboratory published 4 articles in scientific publications, registered in international scientific information databases, 3 reports in international and 4 in national conferences. 3 articles promoting science were published and research results were presented in 2 international and 1 national scientific conference.