Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

INFRES

Innovative and effective technology and logistics for forest residual biomass supply in the EU

Project acronym: INFRES

Title of project: Innovative and effective technology and logistics for forest residual biomass supply in the EU

Project Call Identifier: FP7-KBBE-2012-6-singlestage

Research area: Agriculture & Forestry

Contract No: 311881

Objectives

The INFRES research project is optimising the use of forest by-products (forest residue) as a renewable biomass resource for the heating, power generation and bio-refining industries. By demonstrating innovative technological and logistical improvements to the forest residue supply chain, INFRES will show how economic and environmental costs can be reduced – thus boosting the contribution forests make to meeting European energy and raw material needs as well as environmental and CO2 emission targets.

Forests – and the high-quality wood they contain – support major European industries such as construction, furniture, paper and pulp. However, these industries do not use all the wood found in forests: small trees, branches, tree-tops and unusable timber are all left behind after the cleaning, thinning and felling of forests. This forest residue (feedstock) is used for heating homes and buildings, for generating electricity in power stations, and as a raw material for the chemical and biofuel sectors; and because it is a renewable resource, the EU wishes to promote its wider use.

INFRES is taking a holistic approach to innovation in the forest residue feedstock supply chain. Activities include:

  • Proposing innovative technological and logistical solutions for new harvesting, transport and storage technologies for forest fuel supply.
  • Demonstrating new solutions in entire supply chains from harvesting to transport and storage in real operational environments.
  • Identifying the technological, economic, regulatory and other bottlenecks in the forest energy supply sector.
  • Assessing the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the proposed logistical solutions, including scenarios for different fuel sources, methods, technologies and transport distances.
  • Disseminating the research and demonstration outcomes to forest-residue supply chain practitioners.

Implementing INFRES results is expected to reduce fossil energy input into the feedstock supply chain by 20%, raw material losses by 15%, supply costs by 10-20%, and CO2 emissions by 10%. More widely, through technology transfer of INFRES results across the EU, the volume of forest energy supply could rise by 30% by 2015.

The INFRES project consortium has 23 partners comprising 9 leading forest energy research organisations and 14 SMEs covering operations in the biomass supply chain. SME partners include manufacturers of harvesting technology, chippers, feedstock supply enterprises, forest harvesting and transport providers, truck technology experts and an IT service provider for managing fleets and storage.