Sveaskog owns 3.3 million hectares of productive forest land and is thereby Sweden’s biggest forest owner. By taking part in World Bioenergy 2010 the company hopes to make international business contacts in the biofuel sector.
“For a while now we’ve noticed great interest from European energy companies who want to use more forest raw materials in their heating and power plants,” says Roger Johansson, biofuel coordinator at Sveaskog. “Sveaskog wants to be part of that market but we’re not sitting around waiting to be asked. We’re actively marketing our services to the international energy companies.” Sveaskog has about 40 customers in Sweden and is about to start exporting to customers outside the country. “Sweden has already gone through the biggest growth phase and the market here has matured,” Johansson says. “In contrast, demand elsewhere in Europe is still in its infancy. So far, prices haven’t justified exports, but we believe that the growing need in Europe for renewable raw materials will lead to a price increase.”
A third forest product
Arvid Björkroth at the Sveaskog stand at World Bioenergy 2010 can see a clear transformation in terms of practical forestry methods when it comes to extracting biomass for fuel: “Biofuel is becoming more and more accepted as a third forest product alongside pulp wood and timber. This is leading to better production methods and standards. And it is also possible for both forest owners and contractors to earn a little more from their felling work.”
He stresses that extracting biofuel should be regarded as a complement to timber extraction, not a competitor. “Slash (branches and tops) and stumps are the main sources of biofuel in our operations today. That’s a natural result when prices for pulp wood and timber are higher than for biofuel.”
During World Bioenergy, Sveaskog has hosted well-attended study tours that focused on the practical handling of biofuel during forestry operations. “We emphasise planning as the key component of an efficient production flow,” Björkroth says. “Even before felling, the stand undergrowth should be cleared so there are no bushes left to impede handling the branches. During felling the handling of the branches should be planned so the heaps of branches are placed correctly, forwarded, covered and dried. Only after that is it time to do the production in the real meaning of the word –that is, when the chipper does its work.”
There is great interest from the forestry sector in extracting biofuel:
“Above all from outside Sweden. We’re a long way ahead in this country, so it isn’t just products we can export, it’s also knowledge,” he concludes.