Exploring market opportunities for Short Rotation Forestry in the current Irish wood processing and solid biofuel sectors.

  • Ana de Miguel Muñoz Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road, Waterford City.
  • Matteo Sottocornola Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road, Waterford City.
  • Brian Cronin Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road, Waterford City.
  • Tom Kent Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road, Waterford City.
Keywords: Fast-growing plantations, market survey, wood fibre, wood energy.

Abstract

Short Rotation Forestry (SRF) is expected to increase in Ireland in response to the increasing demand for fibre products and fuel for renewable energy targets. A survey was carried out of 30 companies in the energy, fibre and sawmills sectors to assess their perceptions on the suitability of SRF species as a raw material. Also data was gathered on current company production, scale, material requirements, species used, price paid and source of supply. The objective was to identify market opportunities, if any, for growers of SRF. The raw material intake for interviewed companies ranged from 400 to 650,000 tonnes per annum and the price they paid at the mill gate for softwood roundwood varied from €34 to €108 per tonne, with price aligned with piece size but not quality. Most of the interviewees (76%) were not familiar with SRF, however 30% of companies were favourable towards using SRF material for wood fuel and for pallet manufacture. A further 34% were negative about the suitability of SRF as a raw material, with the other 36% expressing no opinion. Information gaps were identified in wood and fuel properties, drying rate and particularly the scale of supply that would become available. Views were mixed regarding forecasted gap between roundwood supply and demand, with sawmills reporting a shortage of sawlog. Instead, the wood energy sector indicated plentiful supply but insufficient market development, which may indicate renewable energy policy targets, will be missed without support measures.
Published
2016-11-01
How to Cite
de Miguel Muñoz, A., Sottocornola, M., Cronin, B., & Kent, T. (2016). Exploring market opportunities for Short Rotation Forestry in the current Irish wood processing and solid biofuel sectors. Irish Forestry. Retrieved from https://journal.societyofirishforesters.ie/index.php/forestry/article/view/10849
Section
Articles