SP1 - Biomass supply and residue utilization

Simen Gjølsjø

SP1 Leader,
NIBIO - Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research


SP1 focuses on analyzing the current biomass availability, as well as analyzing the long-term production potential for biomass from forested areas for energy purposes.

Photo: Helmer Belbo

WP1.1 – Feedstock Supply
 - Leader: Tron Haakon Eid

WP1.2 – Logistics - Leader: Bruce Talbot

WP1.3 – Biomass and Residue Characteristics and Quality - Leader: Judit Sandquist 

WP1.4 – Residue Upgrading and Use - Leader: Trond K. Haraldsen


An important activity in SP1 in 2015 been to improve the biomass estimation in Norway. The work has focused on the development of new methods and models that can be used in inventories for assessing forest biomass, including roots, stem and branches. Very little has previously been done on assessing the biomass estimation of roots and branches. This has been the topic for Aaron Smith's dissertation in 2015. The main objective of his work was to improve individual tree biomass estimation both aboveground and belowground. This work has made a significant achievement facilitating accurate estimation of improvement to assess the biomass stock in Norway, both below ground and above ground.

Some of the forest in Norway has harvesting restrictions, and researchers have worked with methods and tools that may support forest managers to minimise economic losses and to handle and avoid conflicts in recreational areas. Issues related to cost-efficient harvesting operations have also been covered. Clustering of harvesting sites is important to reduce the fixed-costs and increase the net present value.

Chipping at forest roadside landing and consecutive woodchip transport is a common step in the supply chain. By studying 13 chipping contractors in Norway, the conclusion from practitioners in the field trials indicates substantial operational delays originating from poor working conditions or work organisation. The time consumption for the chipper varied between 0.7 and 1.6 minutes per m3 loose and the utilization varied between 35% and 70%. Poor terminal functionality was mostly related to limited flat area of sufficient bearing capacity on the terminal.

The chemical compositions and fusion behaviours of ashes from stem wood, bark, base branch and top branch have been characterised. Compared to other three ashes, top branch ash contains considerably high content of K and P, and is rich in Ca and Si as well. Analyses on four fuel types indicated that melting of them might start in the temperatures range of 930-960 °C. In comparison to ash originated from stem wood, analyses confirm that the ashes from stem bark, base branch and top branch have higher sintering tendency. Top branch ash contains substantially high concentration of K and P elements. These two typical mobile elements in plants are often found in twigs containing a large amount of young and biologically active tissues.

Moisture content is one of the most important quality parameters of forest biomass used for bioenergy. The standard method currently used for determining moisture content involves oven drying at 105 °C until stable weight is reached (oven-drying method). For buyers of biomass, a disadvantage of the oven-drying method is that it takes at least 24 hours before the moisture content of the delivered biomass is determined. The accuracy for frozen and non-frozen chips have been tested with the near infrared spectroscopy. The tests were successful and the method was approved by Virkesmätningen (VMK) in Sweden in December 2015.


More information on the research activities can be found in the latest CenBio Annual Report.


Published July 27, 2016