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Swedens Foray Into The Manufacture Of Wood Pellets

Mar 13, 2008
Since time immemorial man has always tried to discover new and innovative ways to preserve energy. Right from conventional methods like solar energy to other sources like wind power etc. today the new rage is wood pellets. These small pellets are a viable source of abundant energy. Sweden is one of the first countries to use the plant Salix viminalis in the bioenergy production of these pellets.

What is Salix viminalis?

The plant Salix viminalis is also known by the names of Sally tree, Willow tree or even Sallie. This is considered to be a biomass crop which is used to manufacture wood pellets. The trees usually bend forward in a particular direction and have green plant outgrowths on the branches. It is a very easy plant to cultivate and its usefulness in large scale bioenergy production has only recently been discovered.

Why is it beneficial?

The Salix viminalis crop is extremely useful because of a number of reasons. First and foremost these are extremely low maintenance crops which means that once these are sown you hardly need to take much care of them. You can even cultivate these trees using just the un-rooted cuttings. Within a few short years a large harvest can be reaped which is great for bioenergy production which needs accelerated timelines. Besides this the plant has the ability to harvest atleast 6-7 times before you need to replant it again. You also need a lesser number of pesticides in order to cultivate this amazing crop.

Swedens initial efforts

Sweden has been one of the very first countries to recognize the tremendous potential of this tree. In fact over the last quarter century more than 20% of the primary energy sources came from bioenergy production. This was as per statistics in the year 2001. As far as district heating systems go, in Sweden more than 53% of fuel mix is used. The government of Sweden has been actively involved and supportive about the biomass energy policy. New research as well as innovation has always been encouraged in this segment and various projects have even been funded by the Swedish government. One such case has been the discovery of the plant Salix viminalis in order to manufacture wood pellets.

The way Swedish farmers have used this crop to their advantage is that they have used the plant in short rotations in order to reap more harvests between successive replantations. This way they have managed to extract the most number of wood pellets from a single tree within the shortest time possible. One benefit that Sweden has over other European countries is the presence of relatively untapped rich sources of biomass inside its forests. Besides this, the Swedish government is also very supportive about forestry on a large scale. In fact ever since 2003 a new quota system has been introduced through which the electricity manufacture based on biomass has increased dramatically. While other countries are still waking up to the wonder of wood pellets Sweden seems to have taken the lead and moved far ahead in large scale bioenergy production.
About the Author
For more details please contact Michael Beikircher at michael.beikircher@gruenland.it. The offical website address is http://www.pelletdilegno.com.
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