TV Bioenergy, Berkshire, UK
Increasing the supply of wood fuel in the UK
Parks, tree surgeons and dedicated wood suppliers produce tonnes of wood in the UK each year. And wood is a potential resource of low-carbon energy. The challenge is to establish a market that works for the suppliers and users alike.
Thames Valley Bioenergy (TV Bioenergy) a trading subsidiary of the renewable energy agency Thames Valley Energy, trades in fuelwood in Southern England. By buying from suppliers it guarantees them a market for their wood. A tree station has been set up where woodchip and wood can be delivered, processed, dried, stored and then sold to users. Those users include Slough Heat and Power, a combined-heat-and-power generator, as well as twenty woodchip boiler systems locally.
Previously wood from parks and tree surgeons was often sent to landfill sites: such a waste when it could be used to replace the oil and coal burnt in boilers and power stations. In addition, with the help of a government grant, TVBioenergy has also helped local farmers to establish 200 hectares of short rotation coppice woodland, so further strengthening the supply. A second tree station is under development.
By 2009 woodchip sales were about 6,200 tonnes per year, and TV Bioenergy calculates that over 7,200 tonnes/year CO2 is saved by their supply. And bigger plans are afoot, with a proposed small community-based heating scheme based on woodchip boilers. A self-sustaining market is well and truly established.