Willow for energy in Northern Europe: securing energy, reducing CO2

Energy plantations on agricultural land are getting attention in Europe. They are an additional source of wood supply for bioenergy, and an effective way to reduce CO2 emmissions. The doctoral thesis I defended at the University of Joensuu, focuses on how much biomass for energy these new crops will produce and how they can be adopted by farmers. The study is based on the analysis of two decades of experience of large scale willow plantations established in Sweden.

In general, the first plantations in the 1980s had a very poor performance, but after the introduction of better varieties and improved management, the productivity increased substantially. The research carried out also predicted yields using satellite images, and provides with projections for Finland and the Baltic countries. These show the great potential that this cultivation can have in the area. The final conclusions stress that the successful development of the sector will require the spread of know-how among farmers, development of an adequate infrastructure and favourable policies.

The current challenges will require important support to alternative crops, in order to diversify and guarantee the necessary supply to the energy sector. This research shows that willow coppice can play an important role in Northern Europe.

Find here the full version of the dissertation.


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