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    Bioenergy West Midlands Swedish study tour

    Posted 14 April 2011

    The Harper Adams-based Bioenergy West Midlands initiative recently ran a short study tour of Sweden.
    Funded by Advantage West Midlands, the tour was a chance for representatives of small to medium enterprises (SMEs), including farmers, to witness the development of the Swedish bioenergy industry and gain knowledge of best practice.

    This was the first of two tours funded by AWM, the other being to Germany. The theme for the Swedish Study Tour was decentralised heating and energy networks using wood fuel and other Biomass for heating and combined heat and power.

    Sixteen places were filled by a range of West Midlands businesses and organisations, from farmers and those who work in the forestry industry to organisations intending to install and use biomass boilers on a small scale. A representative from Bishop’s Castle Power represented a larger scale Biomass power project, and a local government sustainability officer also took part.

    Sonia Large, Bioenergy West Midlands Project Officer, said: “The tour was arranged with the help of the Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden, and concentrated on site visits in the South of Sweden.

    “Site visits included three district heating networks of different sizes, from a self-organised farmer-run 300kW heating network supplying six houses, a school and church,  to a medium-scale municipal 4 mW network supplying a Volvo car factory and about 200 houses.

    “We also saw a vast 104 mW wood chip fuelled CHP plant with district heating network, which provides a large proportion of the heating and electricity needs of Växjö, a city of approximately one million inhabitants.

    “And we visited a forestry harvesting and chipping business that turns otherwise unused by-products from the forestry industry’s supply to paper and sawmills, such as branches and tree tops, into wood chip fuel.

    “The tour also looked at other types of fuels, such as the pelletising process, with a site visit to the Derome Sawmills and Wood Pellet production plant. We visited Biagrolife, a research facility that is experimenting with pelletising agricultural waste products such as unused grain and seeds.

    “We also visited a small farm-scale Anaerobic Digester, where the gas produced is upgraded using a simple scrubbing method to produce a vehicle fuel.

    “Feedback from the trip was positive, and one delegate commented that ‘seeing the technologies in commercial operation’ was the most useful aspect of the tour. Another noted that it was ‘certainly one of the best trips that I have been on - made particularly so by the friendship, interests and experience shared amongst the group’.”

    Based at Harper Adams University College, Bioenergy West Midlands was created in 2005 to help promote the region’s uptake of bioenergy and encourage the Bioenergy Supply Chain by organising information and networking events across the region.
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