Training for Community Leaders
Community leaders, mayors, local councilors, teachers are trained how to mobilize the community and select in a participatory manner the institution that will install a biomass heating system, how to implement and manage the heating systems, monitor and evaluate the biomass heating project, etc. The experts of the Energy and Biomass Project provided support to the local leaders, which materialized in specific training in building and developing community partnerships, establishment of local project committees, presentation of techniques and opportunities of collecting funds at local and national levels. The approach to involve the stakeholders as project partners, and not just as beneficiaries, in the efforts to identify and address issues is in line with the best practices of communication for development, and ensures the sustainability of the implemented projects.
After the local projects for installation of biomass heating systems were approved, with the support of the Energy and Biomass Project experts the key local stakeholders developed detailed project implementation plans, which, among others, identified the biofuel sources and storage facilities and provided for the employment of additional staff.
All the 127 beneficiary communities invested their own money in the works carried out to improve the energy efficiency of premises (replacement of doors and windows, insulation of walls etc.), renovate the interior heating systems and build and/or refurbish the storage facilities for the biomass fuel.
At a later stage, the managers of the public institutions, mayors, members of local councils and biofuel producers gathered together to discuss who is responsible for what and to develop monitoring and evaluation plans. More than 1 600 local stakeholders participated in these meetings.
The biomass energy production technologies and the principles of appropriate management of the biomass heating systems were the issues addressed during other training activities targeting the same group. The other critical issues were biofuel quality and the legal and institutional framework on renewable energy and energy efficiency in Moldova, the types of biomass boilers, the maintenance and operation procedures and the fire safety rules.
For the municipal leaders on the left bank of the Nistru River, in 2015 the Energy and Biomass Project organized 17 meetings to promote and inform them about the benefits of the biomass heating projects. During these joint working meetings, 168 municipal leaders and managers of institutions extended their knowledge about the heating with alternative biofuel sources. Consequently, the Project Selection Committee received 9 letters of intention for installation of solid biofuel boilers in institutions on the left bank of the Nistru River. Moreover, 20 municipal leaders from the Transnistrian region visited public institutions that have operational biomass heating systems and producers of briquettes and pellets on the right and left bank of Nistru.
A Map-guide with 8 steps for efficient biomass heating was developed and distributed to all the boiler rooms and public institutions, which use biomass heating in the 127 beneficiary communities. Another Explanatory Map-guide was developed and distributed to the institutions that, besides biomass boilers, have also been connected to solar collectors used to heat up water.
In addition to the training programs, the Energy and Biomass Project organized study visits to the public institutions that use biomass heating systems and to biofuel producers for 122 local leaders. During these visits the future beneficiaries of biomass boilers could see the benefits of biomass heating, and learn firsthand information about the operation of biomass heating systems, problems that can occur and how to overcome them.
Training for Boiler Operators
To prepare the public institutions for the installation of biomass boilers, the Energy and Biomass Project developed and delivered an Initial Training Program for the boiler operators and the institutions’ technical staff. This training is delivered by the design and construction companies and the project staff once the public institutions connect to biomass heating systems. The training aims at ensuring proper management of the boilers running on straw, briquettes, pellets, as well as the mixed pellet-briquette boilers.
The training modules contain information about the types and properties of the biomass fuel, biomass fuel quality, technical parameters of the biomass boilers, proper loading of biomass boilers with biomass, removal of ash, storage and cleaning of boilers, monitoring of the produced heat (see below the description of the Registers developed by the Energy and Biomass Project), appropriate estimation of required biofuel amount and rational use of biofuel; proper storage conditions for biomass fuel; occupational and fire safety rules, common problems that may occur with the biomass boilers and how to deal with them.
After the boilers were installed, the operators received practical 48 hour-training from the design and construction companies and simulated all the boiler operation processes and the most common problems that can occur. The training modules were tailored for every type of boiler and related equipment to facilitate the training process. Besides the Efficient Biomass Heating Map every boiler room has the Guidebook of Boiler Operators.
This user-friendly guidebook contains a section dedicated to all the types of boilers and also visual graphics and all the operational details of the biomass heating systems.
Finally, the boiler operators received hygrometers to measure the moisture content in the biomass fuel during storage and before loading the boilers.
In total, training was delivered to 376 boiler operators and technical staff from all the beneficiary localities.
Training for Biomass Fuel Producers
To make sure there is sufficient supply of good and affordable biofuel to meet the demand, there is a separate training program for biomass fuel suppliers.
In 2011 the training focused on production of straw bales using various baling equipment, including the equipment that could be leased through the Energy and Biomass Project, logistical management to reduce costs, storage requirements. To facilitate the understanding of the business model and business profitability, a template business plan was developed.
After the introduction of briquette and pellet boilers and the mixed boilers, and with a rapidly evolving market of solid biofuel, in 2012 the training modules were revised to include specific issues related to the pelleting and briquetting technologies, quality parameters and template business plans and the funding opportunities of the leasing mechanisms of the Energy and Biomass Project and other institutions. Local practitioners in production of pellets and briquettes from agricultural waste were trained how to optimize the operations with solid biofuel along the value chain, how to ensure cost-effectiveness, while improving production and quality of the local biomass fuel. Once solid biofuel quality standards and technical regulations were put in place, the Energy and Biomass Project organized and held roundtables and seminars with the existent producers.
470 biofuel producers learned how to manage successfully a business with production of pellets and briquettes compliant with the quality standards and meeting the needs of beneficiaries – public institutions and households.
They also received the Solid Biofuel Quality Management Manual, which explains the technical regulations on the physical and chemical parameters of briquettes and pellets and the quality assurance procedures.
Additionally, the producers from both banks of the Nistru River participated in three workshops, organized in partnership with the Agrarian University of Moldova and the Solid Biofuel Laboratory of the Agrarian University. The 50 participants saw live how the laboratory applies the biofuel quality testing procedures.
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