Efficient forest biomass handling at terminals with focus on bio-refinery and fuel wood supply chains

Kalvis Kons details his YSSP project work which deals with characterization of the existing forest biomass terminals in Sweden.

K. Kons

K. Kons


Traditionally, forest terminals have served as storage and transition points for round wood deliveries to the forest industry. However, according to Forest Industry's IT Company, SDC, biomass deliveries for energy have increased by 20 % since 2000 (SDC 2013). Moreover, today, terminals play a role as storage and buffer for combined heat and power (CHP) plants. The use of biomass terminals in the procurement chains of forest biomass may reduce the total supply costs of CHP plants by 18.3% due to centralized  procurement procedures (Palander and Voutilainen 2013). A study done by Kärhä (2011) indicated that terminal use for chipping operations will increase between 2006 and 2010. The aim of this paper is to characterize the existing forest biomass terminals in Sweden.


A quantitative questionnaire was carried out by SDC among forestry companies. Data about terminal locations, assortment volumes, equipment, delivery methods, and inventories were gathered. All biomass assortments were converted to oven-dry tonnes using the WeCalc conversion tool developed by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Results and Conclusions

The average terminal size is 2 ha, of which 0.9 ha are paved. The average biomass density per terminal is 0.6 ODt/m2; however, some terminals reached as much as 8.8 ODt/m2. Comminution of biomass is carried out at 88% of terminals. The range of taken-in assortments is quite wide from 1 to 8 assortments per terminal;  on average a Swedish forest terminal will take in 2.3 assortments. The most common inventory method is visual assessment which accounts for 44%; only 32% of terminals are conducting qualitative inventory assessment. 55% of terminals have measuring facilities, and 7% of terminals use drying ovens to determine the moisture content of biomass. Description of forest biomass terminals is the first step before more complex simulation and optimization models can be applied. One of the major optimization objectives will be to optimize the sharing of measuring facilities among  different terminals when a new regulation comes into force in the Swedish forestry sector. 


Kärhä, K. (2011). "Industrial supply chains and production machinery of forest chips in Finland." Biomass and Bioenergy 35(8): 3404-3413.

Palander, T. S. and J. J. Voutilainen (2013). "Modelling fuel terminals for supplying a combined heat and power (CHP) plant with forest biomass in Finland." Biosystems Engineering 114(2): 135-145.

SDC. (2013). Retrieved 2013-07-23, 2013.


Kalvis Kons, of the Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, is a Swedish citizen. He was funded by IIASA's National Member Orgaization for Sweden and worked in the Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program during the YSSP.

Please note these Proceedings have received limited or no review from supervisors and IIASA program directors, and the views and results expressed therein do not necessarily represent IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other organizations supporting the work.

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Last edited: 19 August 2015


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