Logistic characteristics and requirements of Swedish wood biofuel heating plants
Journal article, 2021
The demand for wood biofuel for district heating plants and combined heat and power plants (CHPs) has increased, caused by an increase in both the number and size of CHPs. This places large demands on the logistics system supplying these plants with fuel, with a particular interest in the use of alternative modes of transport such as rail and sea. The aim of this paper is to identify the industry actors' requirements, constraints, and preferences regarding the wood-biofuel supply chain and to identify the logistical challenges this entails, as well as how this impacts the opportunity for an increased use of alternative transport solutions. A survey was sent to all Swedish CHPs, combined with six interviews with transport companies, terminal operators, and forest companies. The study shows that the industry has a local focus that limits potential logistics and sourcing solutions. It is also challenged by urban sprawl, with expanding residential areas close to the CHPs putting further constraints on the operations. Significant variations in fuel demand, depending on unpredictable outside temperature and seasonal variation, is a further challenge. The low density of the fuel has a negative impact on transport costs and introduces a trade-off between chipping close to the forest to increase density versus more efficient chipping at the CHP. Intermodal transport only used by large plants, driven by a shortage of local fuel.