Wood chips are, along with logs, wood pellets and related sawmill waste, one of the four sources of fuel for wood boilers.
The recent development of projects consuming large quantities of woodchips has highlighted major challenges that represent the mobilisation of forest resources and the integrated management of this sector for a successful woody biomass value chain.
The issues of mobilisation, organisation and integrated upstream-downstream management go far beyond purely technical aspects. This is why stakeholders in France have been working together since 2014 to provide a global response to these issues. They indeed consider that the development of wood energy–especially that of wood chips–is only possible when each of the parties involved has a mutual understanding on energy, forestry, technology, economy and land-management.
During the last decade, the production of wood chips, as an activity in its own right, has considerably modified the organisation of work in the forest, resulting in the emergence of new dedicated machinery, skills, missions and partnerships in the forest.
French forestry contractors have been at the forefront of writing a handbook for all stakeholders. Thanks to this document, forest owners have access to information on the diversification of their incomes and a better valuation of their wood. It also serves as a resource by providing answers to forest managers who often question the markets and associated silvicultural management, as well as insight to the concerns of environmentalists regarding the best level of forest use.
Forestry companies wishing to effectively develop wood chips as well as heating and industrialists seeking visibility and organisation of the value chain are certainly at the heart of the document. Last but not least, communities and owners of boilers reluctant to invest in wood energy projects have access to a comprehensive overview of the potential for wood chips.
For more information, see this link.