Course code MežZ4065

Credit points 4

Biomass Utilisation for Energy

Total Hours in Course160

Number of hours for lectures48

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes16

Independent study hours96

Date of course confirmation20.10.2020

Responsible UnitDepartment of Forest Utilisation

Course developer

author Meža izmantošanas katedra

Agris Zimelis


Prior knowledge

MežZ2044, Forest Work and Machinery III

MežZ3073, Dendrometry

Course abstract

In the 1st part of the study course, students gain theoretical knowledge about biomass extraction, heat, and fuel production in general. The 2nd part of the study course aims for knowledge gain on precise technological approaches and their different solutions for the collection, storage, and use of energy wood.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

During this course, students will gain knowledge about the calculation for available resources and forecasting of wood biomass as well as cost-efficient use of wood biomass in heating devices. Practical assignments.
Students will gain the ability to select the most appropriate technology and equipment for the preparation of wood biomass and also will be able to be keen on market demand-supply for biomass and energy usage.Practical assignments, a test.
Students will gain knowledge-based competencies to determine and provide opinions regarding of use of wood biomass and will be able to estimate and prepare a report. Tests, practical assignments.

Course Content(Calendar)

1. The description of the course. Basic concepts. Study course rules and evaluation system. General definition, terms, and concepts used in the forestry sector. In applied work used system units (2 hours).
2. The detachment of biomass by type of origin. The potential use of biomass and prospects in heat supply. Usage of biomass as an environmentally friendly solution. Carbon cycle and its reduction opportunities. Statistical analysis of biomass use (2 hours).
3. The proportion of biomass in total energy balance. Different uses of biomass in Latvia. Biomass conversion technologies - a global perspective. Opportunities for the technology transfer process for Latvian conditions (3 hours).
4. The planning process of wood biomass resources, labor intensity (3 hours)
5. Methods and approaches for determining the amount of wood biomass (6 hours).
6. Biomass pre-conversion and storage (for straw and wood). Regulations and legislation rules regarding biomass storage. Impact of storage process on final product value (2hours).
7. Suitability of heating plants for the uses of biomass. Different types of heating plants. The newest technology review on the production of biofuel heating equipment. Flue gas condenser (2 hours).
8. Requirements of energetic on the use of wood biomass in heat production. Legislation and regulation analysis for the use of wood biomass in heat production in Latvia. Examples for different countries regarding the use of biomass for heat production (2 hours).
9. The stacking and storage technologies for wood biomass. Technological solutions for biomass transfer (loading, transportation, unloading, and transshipment facilities). Technical requirements for biomass storage (6 hours).
10. Biomass processing techniques: direct combustion, torrefaction (carbonization, heat-roasting), gasification, fermentation, processing for biodiesel, and liquefaction (as a result of fast pyrolysis) (2 hours).
11. Requirements for legislation, as well as regulations for biomass use. Overview and analysis of legislation and regulations for Latvian and Scandinavian conditions (1 hour).
12. Technical devices and technologies for heat production from wood biomass. Use of technologies and their devices in different countries (3 hours).
13. The preparation of wood biomass in Latvian state forests. Overview of wood biomass preparation technologies. Annual biomass volumes and their sales (2 hours).
14. Possibilities of using wood as a resource in cogeneration power plants. The overview of requirements in legislation: requirements for cogeneration power plants, a procedure for defining the price of procurement for excess energy produced. The building opportunities for cogeneration power plants in Latvia. The positive impact on increasing energy dependency in cogeneration power plants (2 hours).
15. Charcoal production and their purposes of extraction for energetic technologies. The technical data for charcoal production, the terms of utilization, technical requirements for charcoals, the benefits of charcoal regarding tree species ( 2 hours).
16. Novelties in biofuel planning and producing process (6 hours).
Workshops and practical/lab. works: (hours in classes/ hours of independent preparation):
1. The selection of forest stands according to particular parameters from forest inventory while using the following software: Meža eksperts, Mežvērte, MAPIS, or others. The preparation of the report (2 hours/ 6 hours).
2. The forecasting of productivity for selected forest harvesting equipment. The preparation of the report (2 hours/ 6 hours).
3. Technological solutions for biofuel extraction and transportation. The preparation of the report (2 hours/ 10 hours).
4. Biomass calculations and their distribution by selected tree species (for Scot’s pine, Norway spruce, and birches). The preparation of the report (2 hours/ 6 hours).
5. To analyze additional biomass extraction opportunities and possibilities. The preparation of the report (2 hours/ 4 hours).
6. To analyze the possibilities of biomass grounding. To elaborate on the economical evaluation for use of different equipment. The preparation of the report (2 hours/ 4 hours).
7. Elaboration of recommendations on the use of calculated biomass in heat supply. The most appropriate heating plant must be chosen. The preparation of the report (2 hours/ 6 hours).
8. Summarization of the report. The final presentation in classes (2 hours/ 10 hours).

Requirements for awarding credit points

Successfully passed the final exam.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

Additional study of literature regarding developed course description.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

The final grade comprises:
1. Written tests (contributes 35% of the final grade);
2. Final exam with a passing grade (contributes to 40% of the final grade).
3. Practical work report (contributes 25% of the final grade);
Course attendance – at least 80% for lectures and practical work. The necessity to accomplish and submit all tests and practical assignments.
It is possible to receive a final grade automatically (if all practical assignments and tests are passed with a grade “7” or higher). All written tests and practical work assignments (additional report tasks) must be written only once at a specified time regarding the course plan.

Compulsory reading

Sarmulis Z., Saveļjevs A. (2015) Meža darbi un teholoģijas. Mācību līdzeklis. Jelgava. 146 lpp. ISBN 9789934859939
Sarmulis Z. (2006) Cirsmu tehnoloģiskais plānojums mežizstrādē. Jelgava. 45 lpp.
I.Liepa .. [u.c]. (2014) Latvijas Meža Tipoloģija. Jelgava. 119 lpp. ISBN 9789984481647
Rivža P. (2012) Atjaunojamā enerģija un tās efektīva izmantošana Latvijā : monogrāfija. Jelgava. 392 lpp. ISBN 9789984480855

Further reading

1. Baltijas koks, ISSN 1407-6667
2. Meža avīze, ISSN 1407-6187
3. SkogForsk Results, ISSN 1103-6222

Periodicals and other sources

1. Baltic Forestry ISSN 1392-1355.
2. Meža Avīze ISSN 1407-6187.


The study course is included in the compulsory part of full-time and part-time studies of the professional higher education bachelor study program “Forest Engineer” of the Faculty of Forestry.