UKTC Archive

RE: Alternative extraction/conversion etc

Subject: RE: Alternative extraction/conversion etc
From: Chris Hastie
Date: Dec 09 2008 17:05:48
Reply interwoven with original for context.
On 09 December 2008 16:38, benfuest wrote:

The subject pushes the right buttons and there are
people out there trying to fund Unimogs at 60k plus chippers
and trailers in the hope of procuring contracts to fulfil a perceived
demand. But where is the crop to harvest ? miles away and it gets
further away every year as local supplies dry up.

It's a good point. If wood fuel has to be transported a long way both
its carbon footprint and cost start to look less appealing. Wood fuel
really needs to be both grown and processed close to the point of use. 

The grandly named "Woodfuel Strategy for England" sets a target of
bringing an additional 2 million tonnes of wood fuel to market annually
by 2020, which it declares represents "50% of the estimated unharvested
available material in English woodlands". But before we even get into
the question of whether this estimate is accurate, is it in the right
place? Interestingly, the identified focused for supply is under managed
woodland, and a quick glance at page 6 of the strategy suggests that
there is quite a concentration of these to the south and west of London,
so perhaps it is in the right place after all.

Developing a supply chain infrastructure is key. It also seems to be
happening. Here in south Warwickshire I believe that both Midlands Wood
Fuel are developing a depot and the Warwickshire Rural Hub have obtained
some funding towards doing the same. Public bodies biting the bullet and
installing wood fuel systems helps to kickstart that. We put a boiler
into our crematorium not long ago. Initially MWF were having to haul
chip from Shropshire to supply us, but the fact that as an authority we
are committed to expanding our use of wood fuel has helped to create
confidence in developing a supply chain locally.

The price of wood fuel will go up. This happens with all fuel. If it
remained cheap, e-on would be installing wood fuel fired power stations,
which would push up demand and then price. Essentially, once the market
establishes all fuel prices track each other because of this mechanism.
Bad news for those who bought a log burner for the promise of cheap
warmth, but good news for woodland owners. Selling poorer quality
product into the relatively local wood fuel market is looking
significantly more attractive to owners in these parts than transporting
it all the way to Kronospan in Wrexham.

Chris Hastie
Strategy Officer (Arboriculture)
Warwick District Council

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