First Ukrainian city stops using gas heating, switches to wood waste

Science and Innovation

In 2017, raion center Zhovkva became the first gas-free city in Ukraine.  The European Union funded the project which allowed to fully eliminate gas heating and use wood waste instead.

Zhovkva, a town with 13,500 inhabitants in Lviv region, became the first Ukrainian city to stop using gas. The municipality of Zhovkva initiated the process of transition from gas to solid fuel back in 2005 when natural gas was not that expensive and Russia supplied it without interruption. In 2012, Zhovkva joined the Covenant of Mayors, a European co-operation movement which’s signatories commit to increasing energy efficiency using renewable energy sources on their territories.

There are four municipal boiler houses in Zhovkva. One of them was re-equipped with solid fuel combustion appliances. Instead of combusting gas, it uses wood chips and sawdust now. One more facility is being reconstructed too. Two more gas boiler houses were put on hold on stand-by reserve. 

Switching from gas to biomass allowed the community of Zhovkva to save 20% of city budget funds annually. But first, it had to stop the heat loss since up to 80% of the produced energy went into heating the ground. Old Soviet pipes were replaced with new insulated ones. Now the heat losses between a boiler house and residential and municipal buildings being heated dropped to zero. 

  • Zhovkva was founded in 1594 as a town by the Polish nobleman Stanisław Żółkiewski and was built on an ideal Renaissance city plan.
  • In the 17th century, it became the royal residence for King John III Sobieski of Poland
  • From its earliest days, the population was a mix of Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews
  • Landmark buildings include a fortress-like synagogue, churches, and monasteries

Video by Suspilne Oko.

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  • Murf

    “Switching from gas to biomass allowed the community of Zhovkva to save 20% of city budget funds annually. But first, it had to stop the heat loss since up to 80% of the produced energy went into heating the ground. Old Soviet pipes were replaced with new insulated ones. Now the heat losses between a boiler house and residential and municipal buildings being heated dropped to zero.”
    This is how much can be accomplished with decentralization, good management and imagination.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Such heat loss- 80%- is probably the rule rather than the exception throughout the country. If the replacement of old pipes is carried out on a large scale, the savings due to reduced gas consumption could well make the country independent of foreign gas.

      • Murf

        I know, staggering isn’t.
        The best part is that replacing pipes is far cheaper than building Nuc plants.
        And Ukraine lays good pipe.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Ukrainian energy efficiency is low, even Poland’s is far higher. Improve the country’s energy efficiency to that of Poland- which is lower than that of Germany or the Netherlands, by the way- would be beneficial in several ways. First, it would reduce or even eliminate the need for foreign gas and thus save foreign exchange. Secondly, the dwarf gets fewer $$$ to fund his aggression. Third, reduced fuel consumption means cleaner air. Fourth, it is part of the country’s contribution to combating climate change. Projects such as this one can make useful contributions to those goals.
          Zhovka is only one small town, but there are many such small towns throughout the Ukraine which can similarly benefit.

          • Murf

            There is no reason why Ukraine can’t pursue the heating pipe replacement program through out the whole country.
            It will take time and lot of money by the return on the investment is almost immediate.
            With decentralization Ukraine cold offer incentives to communities to undertake this modernization themselves.

          • Alex George

            This is just one small story, in itself, but it shows the future of Ukraine.

            And its not too long before this will be happening all over the country.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Towns such as Zhovka can function as a showcase. Invite mayors and councillors from similar towns in the oblast and show them what can be achieved. Spread the word.
            Even if only the uninsulated pipes are replaced- which is fairly easily done without too much disruption in such small towns- the savings are immediate and considerable.
            Apart from wood chips and sawdust there’s a lot of potential in using the country’s agricultural waste, which is usually simply burned off. Burning this waste in heating installations and possibly even power plants has enormous potential.

  • zorbatheturk

    Germany burns a lot of biomass since it counts as renewable energy. I still think burning dead RuSSians should qualify for carbon credits…

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Noooo, that’s AIR POLLUTION!