Green car traffic - mission for the forest industry

Published: 9 July 2015

Swedish vehicular traffic can be independent of fossil fuels in 2030 when 8-15 forest industry companies integrate biofuel production in its existing facilities, it says researcher Elisabeth Wetterlund, Luleå University.

Scientist Elisabeth Wetterlund, Department of Energy Sciences at Luleå University of Technology, works with system analysis model BeWhere Sweden to find out where in the country the production of green fuels linked to forestry companies can be profitable.

Elisabeth_Wetterlund.jpg
The forest industry is an important player to reach the goal, a fossil fleet, according to researcher Elisabeth Wetterlund.

The system analysis model BeWhere, developed for the Swedish need of Elisabeth Wetterlund, handles  the input of data on where in the country the supply and demand of biomass available, economic data, energy consumption for production of biofuels in a certain plant, transport costs etc.

- Using the model, we can for example see that forestry companies as sulphate pulp mills and sawmills are best suited for integrating systems that allow companies to use waste products to produce biofuels, says Elisabeth Wetterlund.

Gasification of black liquor, a waste product from paper mill Smurfit Kappa in Piteå, that can be converted to BioDME in Luleå University research facility LTU Green Fuel, is an example of biofuel production beeing profitable.

The results of the research and technology development at LTU Green Fuel is included in the models Elisabeth Wetterlund and her fellow researchers are using, to locate forest industry companies and plants that, in the long term, can produce second-generation biofuels.

Business advantage for industry

One conclusion is that, the paper company could get both pulp and biofuel from their installations if they installed the black liquor gasifier used in LTU Green Fuel.

– To integrate fuel production in existing forestry companies also leads to advantages in energy terms, as approximately half of what you get in the manufacturing process becomes biofuels and half becomes heat that can be used to drive production, says Elisabeth Wetterlund. Large-scale production of biofuels from wood is perfectly possible today. But this requires, among other things, long-term instruments, such as tax relief, which enables enterprises to venture investing.