Two members of the Biopad team, Robert Prinz from METLA and Michael Doran from Action Renewables were in Iceland from 2nd to the 5th of September, to attend a SECRE partners meeting. SECRE is another NPP project which seeks to develop the link between renewable energy production and social businesses.
SECRE’s ultimate goal is to develop a service, consisting of consultation, training and advice, for social enterprises in the renewable energy sector. The lead partner is the Karelia University of Applied Sciences, in Finland.
The meeting was held in Isafyordur, in the North West fyords of Iceland. On the third day, the participants drove down through Iceland, to Reykjavik, visiting several sites on the way. This included a visit to the hydro scheme operated by Orkustofnun, in Tungudalur and a plant in Reykholar, operated by Thorverk, which harvests and dries seaweed. The seaweed is then processed and shipped out of Iceland, for incorporation in a range of pharmaceutical and food supplement products.
Iceland has an unusual renewable energy mix, consisting mainly of hydro electricity and electricity generated from turbines, driven by hot geothermal waters. As a result, their electricity costs are very low, typically 5 cents (€0.05) per kW.
Robert has already been involved in another forestry project in Iceland, which is now establishing about 1800 hectares of new forests each year. While the total area covered is still less than one a half per cent of the total land area, they plan to have up to 200 000 hectares planted by 2030.
Biopad hopes to be able to contribute towards this, by assisting with supply chain modelling, for the nascent Icelandic wood production industry.