Fast-Paced Start and Big Prospects: How Does Bioenergy Develop in Ukraine
Пресс-служба Вадима Ермолаева  1 August 2019

The construction of a new biofuel TPP, namely, sunflower husk, will be completed in Dnipro this autumn. The power plant will be able to “convert” 320-350 tons of husk into electricity per day. The project investor is Vadim Ermolaev, a shareholder of the Potoki Oil Extraction Plant.

The TPP capacity will be 16 MW.

Is it a lot or a little? Compared to nuclear power plants, where the capacity of only one power unit can reach 950 MW, this is almost nothing, but it will be one of the most powerful in Ukraine among biofuel power plants.

Does Ukraine need alternative energy sources on its way to energy self-
sufficiency? What are the prospects for energy generation specifically from
biofuels? Let us get all this straightened out.

What Do We Need It for?

Today, everyone knows about the benefits of alternative energy sources. Firstly, it is independence from non-renewable energy sources (such as oil, coal and gas, etc.). Secondly, it is the reduction of environmental pollution.

An issue of alternative power can be called particularly relevant for Ukraine.
Ukraine is an energy deficient country and imports about 70% of the volume of natural gas from its own consumption. Therefore, the use of renewable energy sources would help Ukraine to save on traditional fuel and energy resources.

As of 2014, the annual technically achievable energy potential of renewable
sources in Ukraine was about 50% of the total energy consumption. This number equals to 68, 6 million tons of oil equivalent. So, it is still worth doing.

Ukraine and Alternative Energy Sources: What is the Goal for the Next Few Years

By joining the European Energy Community, Ukraine has pledged to reach the level of 11% of “clean energy” in the energy mix of Ukraine by 2020.

For comparison: according to Eurostat, Sweden receives the largest part of energy (53.9%) from renewable sources. Finland (39.3%), Latvia (37.6%), Austria (33.0%) and Denmark (30.8%) are also leading in terms of this indicator. In general, the share of energy from renewable sources in the EU countries amounted to 29% as of 2018. Europeans’ long-term goal is to reach 70% by 2050 (according to the EU Energy Strategy by 2050).

Of course, Ukraine is still far from such indicators. In 2017, the country reached only 6.7% of “clean” energy in the energy mix , which was even less than the planned figure by 1.6%.

However, it the intermediate victory should not go unmentioned: from 2017 to
2018 only, the capacity of renewable power facilities operating at the “green” tariff increased by more than half – from 1,400 MW to 2,200 MW.

Currently, most of “clean” energy generated in Ukraine accounts for solar power plants, i.e. 1,388 MW. The second place by this indicator is taken by wind power plants, in total, they produce 533 MW. Small hydropower plants provide 99 MW of energy in aggregate. Biogas plants have a total capacity of 46 MW.

Electricity generated from biomass accounts for 51 MW for now. But this area of alternative power industry can be called one of the most promising in Ukraine.

After all, if some European countries buy raw materials for biofuels abroad,
Ukraine has no such need. Powerful agricultural industry allows the country to be even its exporter. Alternative power industry allows using this potential to

The figures say most eloquently: only biomass waste generated in agriculture is enough to provide 5-6% of Ukraine’s annual demand for gas – 1.7 billion cubic meters.

Another 1 billion cubic meters can be obtained annually from the processing of solid municipal waste. Joint operation of biogas and biomass plants can reduce gas imports by 9%.

How Ukraine Uses the Potential of Biofuels Even Today

The development of alternative power industry using biomass began in 2012 in Ukraine. At that time, the total power of such facilities was equal to 6 MW only. In 2018, this figure was already 51 MW, and the country has all the opportunities to increase this figure in the coming years.

A bio-energy CHP in the town of Kamenets-Podolsky is particularly interesting
among the projects implemented:

The bio-energy CHP in the town of Kamenets-Podolsky was opened in 2018. The total capacity is 46 MW, including electric power of 4 MW, and thermal power of 42 MW. It utilizes straw, sunflower husk and corn, in addition to gas for the production of electric and heat energy. It provides heat and hot water to 22,000 town residents. The CHP in Kamenets-Podolsky is the first in Ukraine, the third in Europe and the fifth in the world, which uses a turbine with the ORS module.

Among potential projects:

• Biomass CHP in Sinelnikovo

The CHP project in the town of Sinelnikovo is promising, with the design electric capacity of the plant of 76 MW, which is several times higher than the indicators of existing plants. Granulated sunflower husk, agro pellets will be used at the power plant as biofuel. Currently, only FEED has been completed and preliminary agreements have been concluded for the lease of the territory and connection to the power grids.

• Khmelnitsky Biofuel Power Plant

The power plant will be located in the village of Pecheski, near the city of
Khmelnitsky. The estimated capacity of the power plant is 44.2 MW. About
270,000 tons of straw will be used as biofuel per year. The project is initiated by a group of private Irish investors.

As we see, everything is just beginning for the Ukrainian alternative power industry, but it begins at a fast pace, especially in the field of electric power generation using biomass. Ukraine has every chance to increase the amount of “clean” power generated in the next few years. Now, it will be extremely beneficial for everyone: for the state, private investors and the state of the environment.