Project Summary

Compared to other regions in Europe, North-West Europe has a relatively low forest-cover. Nevertheless, public and private forests, landscape elements, road verges and orchards generate substantial streams of woody biomass year by year. For most of this biomass, residential wood burning is a cheap and easily accessible value chain. However, wood burning contributes significantly to air pollution, especially during the winter months. Furthermore, there are higher-end applications possible for the woody biomass. In this respect, burning can be regarded as a waste of valuable resources. Given that most of the qualitative round wood from forest management is currently already being sold to wood processors for use as material, the project focusses on wood streams that are generally regarded as less qualitative: branch wood from forest management, pruning wood from orchards, hedgerows and tree lines, short rotation coppice from verges, etc. Different case studies in North-West Europe will shed light on all kinds of mechanisms that facilitate or impede higher-end applications of this biomass, such as logistics, cultural habits and existing policies and legislation. Furthermore, we will focus on how supply and demand of this woody biomass can be matched in physical space, but also digitally by means of a web platform. The emphasis will be put on value chains and platforms that can be used throughout the whole of the NWE region. Case studies can either be business-oriented or institutional in scope. Business-oriented case studies would involve linking a biomass stream with an application, and would thereby require cooperation between biomass providers and end-users. Institutional cases can, for instance, focus on how regional players, that control a substantial amount of woody biomass, set up a system that promotes cascading use of biomass, for example by managing the marketing of the product themselves or by engaging subcontractors through framework contracts.

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