Municipality of Priboj in south-western Serbia has made an important step towards sustainable economy, as one part of its public heating system is now powered by biomass instead of the fossil fuels.
The project of heating plant transformation was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and German international development organisation GIZ, all worth 15 million dinars (EUR 122,000).
The retrofitted heating facilities will be burning around 150 tons of woodchips each year, instead of 300 tonns of coal, to keep warm some 6,000 square metres of public spaces in the municipality, according to Zoran Ratković, chief technical officer at “JP Toplana”, the Priboj‘s public heating company.
The biomass-fueled heating of the public buildings, including schools, kindergartens, the city‘s cultural centre and municipal administration, is more efficient and can serve as an incentive for the economic activity in the local community. It also helps reduce pollution of air and the entire environment, according to the Priboj municipality officials.
“The public institutions have got more stable and reliable source of heating. At the same time, residents of Priboj will have cleaner air,” explained Saša Vasilić, the chief of the Biomass working group and the deputy president of the Priboj Municipality.
He stressed the importance of the socio-economic component: the woodchips used in the facility originate from the wood cut inside the municipality. This can be an incentive for the residents to join wood waste collecting effort for the public heating company. It is estimated that the annual carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in the city will be reduced by 500 tons.
Vasilić announced that the municipality, situated in the south-western part of Serbia, would start construction of a new biomass-fueled heating plant next year. There are also plans to adapt an old oil fuel-powered boiler, currently out of use, into a biomass-fueled one.
The representative said that the Priboj municipality expected continued support from the government and particularly the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection.
For its part, GIZ has been supporting similar successful steps taken in municipalities of Kragujevac and Vrbas, and initial efforts and plans in another 15 municipalities across Serbia, within the “Development of a Sustainable Bioenergy Market in Serbia” (DKTI) project.
“We have enough of space to use the biomass potential in Serbia, with more than obvious advantages: the biomass is cheaper than natural gas and oil fuel, it is cleaner than coal, and is made locally,” said Reiner Schellhaas, the programme representative for Biomass Supply.