Treepower proposes two biofuel sites

Luleå The Treepower project, run by Luleå Business Region, Piteå Science Park and Luleå University of Technology, proposes two possible sites for the production of sustainable aviation fuel in Norrbotten.

The Treepower project has been running for three years and the final seminar was held on Wednesday. The seminar was also attended by representatives from SAS, Sveaskog, Transportföretagen, Sparbanken Nord and SkyfuelH2, an initiative for biofuel production in Sollefteå.

The Treepower project has investigated the conditions for aviation biofuel production in Norrbotten. One conclusion is that the market exists.

"The market is expected to grow tremendously in the future. There are many initiatives around the world investigating biofuels. All initiatives are needed to meet the demand," says Helena Holmgren, Luleå Business Region, who is the project manager for Treepower.

There are several different bio-based raw materials that can be used in the production of sustainable aviation fuel. Today, the most common raw materials are vegetable oils and slaughterhouse waste. The disadvantage of these raw materials is that their availability is limited.

"Many airlines would like to use more biofuel, but production is currently very small and they can't get more," says Helena Holmgren.

Treepower has focused on investigating the potential for producing biofuel using residues from the forest industry as raw materials: black liquor, sawdust, bark, branches and tops. It has also looked at the carbon capture method, where biofuel is created from green carbon dioxide and hydrogen, but this method requires significantly more electricity and is controlled by the availability of electrical power.

Various locations in Norrbotten have been investigated and two places have been identified where raw material availability, logistics, available industrial space and the height requirements of the armed forces provide good conditions for biofuel production: Karlsborg outside Kalix next to Billerud's paper factory and at the Haraholmen industrial estate in Piteå.

The partners, together with Invest in Norrbotten, are now applying to the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) for the project to be extended for a few years in order to support interested parties who can operate a plant in Norrbotten.

Reducing the climate impact of aviation is an important global issue. For Norrbotten as a region, it is an important strategic issue to develop fossil-free aviation, as the region's accessibility is largely based on passenger transport by air.

Lennart Håkansson