Forest Research, the wider Forestry Commission and the woodland industries are working together to assist the development of a substantial woodfuel industry throughout the UK. Such an industry could offer new and significant business opportunities for landowners and farmers - and encourage energy users to change to renewable energy.
This research aims to:
- Produce guidance in consultation with the forestry sector and other related industries – universities, government departments and other organisations that have an interest in this developing market
- Cover all types of woodfuel, but currently excludes recycled material, joinery residues, and straw and grasses.
The objectives are to produce up-to-date, evidence based technical information, which gives straightforward practical advice to individuals, community groups and industry in the UK. This guidance will reflect best practice, which is at the core of government policy in terms of sustainability and is central to documents such as the UK Energy White Paper, the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS), the UK Forestry Standard and other devolved policies.
Not only should this work benefit the industry in terms of enhancing the economic value of forest and woodland resources but it should also help to improve knowledge and management of sustainability and carbon balance issues.
Funders and partners
This research is funded primarily by the Forestry Commission Forest Products Programme Advisory Group and is performed by Forest Research Technical Development.
Forestry Commission policy
An objective of the Forestry Commission is to support the Government's policy of sustainable forest management. This includes enhancing economic value of forests and woodland resources.
Wood and other sources of biomass have an important contribution to make to our future energy needs:
- Climate change is a reality and using woodfuel will help reduce our reliance on burning fossil fuels which contributes to the process of global warming
- New markets for woodfuel will help to create and maintain rural jobs as well as contribute to the sustainable management of our woodlands.
Publications on woodfuel
Publications about harvesting, drying, preparartion and processing of woodfuels and best practice advice on woodfuel production.
- Woodfuel Information Pack
Key basic information about many aspects of using woodfuel.
- Woodfuel meets the challenge (PDF-1449K)
Includes benefits, modern woodfuel technology and products and comparing costs with other energy source such as gas, oil and electricity.
- Guidance on site selection for brash removal (PDF-1078K)
Considers upland conifer forests, with a focus on Sitka spruce stands.
- Stump Harvesting: Interim Guidance on Site Selection and Good Practice (PDF-905K)
Identifying sites where stumps may be harvested without compromising long-term sustainability and environmental safeguards that must be applied.
Woodfuel information websites
- Biomass Energy Centre
A 'one stop shop' able to provide advice to anyone with an interest in biomass derived fuels and associated conversion technologies. (Technical Development woodfuel publications will available on the website from autumn 2009).
- Woodfuel Resource
Website and application for Forest Research study into the potentially available woodfuel resource of Great Britain. Results are presented in an interactive manner.
Technical Development is developing its woodfuel research following a modular approach. This aims to identify, study, and provide best practice advice on the different stages of woodfuel production for the main potential scenarios of woodfuel supply chains.
Ongoing work is investigating:
- Outputs and costs of woodfuel production in different crops and conditions
- Moisture content assessment methods
- Development of biomass resource assessment tools and methods
- Residue harvesting
- Organisation of woodfuel supply chains
- Small scale machinery
- CEN 335 standards and woodfuel production
- Reconsituted fuels.