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Facilitating the supply of wood chip from forest plantations for a major heat user.

This project involved the use of data generated from a previous project CLUSTER, which located areas of high concentration levels of private forestry and derived a local forecast of production for 4,500 ha of private forests in counties Roscommon and Mayo.

CLUSTER identified a number of issues which needed to be addressed in order to facilitate the thinning and harvesting of forest plantations so that the forest resource can achieve its full forecast potential wood energy potential.

The key aim of this research project was to address the potential of geographic concentrations of forestry as a renewable raw material for the wood energy sector and to identify what are the main barriers to harvest. It generated a wood energy forecast based on timber assortments and rank forest plantations based on the ease and cost of harvesting, focussing particularly on the roading infrastructure requirements. The research developed a template for the assessment of wood energy potential within Cluster areas, and put in place a system coordinating the supply chain for a major heat user.

The research objectives were:

  • To quantify the likely breakdown of volume by wood energy assortments in first and subsequent thinning operations in forest plantations.
  • To evaluate the roading infrastructure that will facilitate harvesting of forests for wood energy and likely cost implications for policy makers.
  • To provide a potential wood energy flow ranking of plantations based on roading infrastructure, wood energy potential and haulage distance to end users.

Dr Niall Farrelly, Teagasc coordinates the project with Henry Phillips advising on wood energy assortments, logistics and roading infrastructure.

Relevant publications:

Further information