Europe’s largest forest-based bio-fuels business is SCA Norrbränslen which produces around 240,000 tonnes of pellets and 10,000 tonnes of briquettes each year for sale to Swedish customers. With increasing oil and electricity prices in Sweden bio-fuels are becoming more popular and Norrbränslen’s sales are expanding in the region of 10-15% annually. Energy taxes and growing insight on the need to reduce emissions and move to renewable fuels are also driving the market. Customers for SCA’s bio-fuels come from Stockholm in the south to Kiruna close to the Arctic Circle.

The production of various forms of bio-fuels ensures that all of the tree is used, whether for timber products, for pulp and paper, or for fuel. Norrbränslen’s briquettes are made from dry wood chips from sawmills and the co-products from planing mills. These are used mainly by industrial and municipal heating plants.

Pellets are made from sawdust from four sawmills in Norrbränslen’s local area in the north of Sweden. Pellets have a high heat value and are used in large heating plants or household boilers. They represent a competitively-priced and user-friendly alternative for household heating.

SCA is also involved in a joint venture with sawmills through the BioNorr plant in Härnösand. BioNorr is doubling its production of pellets from 80,000 to 16,000 tonnes per year through a £4.5m investment.

In addition, SCA produces a bio-fuel called GROT. In Swedish this is an abbreviation for tree branches and tops. This is compacted and left to dry for a few months before being transported for chipping and burning in industrial boilers. Harvesting of GROT does not interfere with nature conservation measures and it ensures that good use is made of every part of SCA’s renewable forest resources.