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SRCplus


Short Rotation Woody Crops (SRC) plantations for local supply chains and heat use

Duration: 2014 – 2017 ● Client: European Commission (IEE) ● WIP Expertise: Coordination, Market uptake, Policy development ● www.srcplus.eu

Biomass plays a key role among renewable energy sources (RES), accounting for almost 70% of European renewables, and showing steady growth. In the future demand for wood as fuel for heating purposes is expected to increase rapidly. This will be mainly driven by market forces and supported by the targets of national and European energy policies. Solid biomass from Short Rotation Woody Crops (SRC) can contribute significantly to reaching the 2020 targets from bioenergy.

The SRCplus project contributes to the overall IEE objectives to remove the non-technological barriers, especially through capacity-building, awareness raising and exchanges of experience. It also boosts investment across Member States in a new and best performing technology, namely SRC.

The SRCplus project supports local supply chains of one of the most sustainable solid bioenergy resources. Thereby synergies with other agricultural uses and especially with ecosystem services and nature conservation measures are exploited. The general objective is to promote the most efficient energy conversion processes of SRC, namely heat and combined heat and power production (CHP).

IMG 4036-200Perennial SRCs are woody species such as willow, poplar, acacia, robinia and others. It is an excellent alternative to annual crops and can be complementary to the existing agricultural system. Aside from being harvested for energy production, the cultivation of SRCs has many benefits compared to annual crops. They help to improve water quality, enhance biodiversity, provide ecosystem services (hunting, beekeeping, water supply, fire protection), mitigate animal diseases between farms, prevent erosion, reduce artificial input materials (fertilizers, pesticides) and mitigate climate change due to carbon storage. These advantages have to be promoted to produce sustainable woodchips from SRC, enhancing the positive impacts of SRC to the environment. Thereby, sustainability aspects must be considered: SRC has most positive impacts on marginal soils and especially as structural elements in the landscape, bordering for instance fields, roads, and electricity lines. The sustainability of the supply chains is specifically addressed in SRCplus.

The target regions of the SRCplus project (Short Rotation Woody Crops (SRC) plantations for local supply chains and heat use) are located in 7 countries: Upper Bavaria region/Achental (Germany), Osječko-Baranjska and Vinkovačko-Srijemska counties in Eastern Croatia (Croatia), Vidzeme (Latvia), Rhone-Alps (France), Zlin (Czech Republic), Kentriki Makedonia (Greece) and Prespa (Macedonia). Sweden is a best practice country that will transfer know-how and experience on local supply chains of SRC to the target regions.

The SRCplus project is approaching the main target groups in local SRC supply chains: farmers, public land owners and small and medium users of woodchips (woodchip traders, small utilities of heat and CHP). Dedicated capacity building measures for these target groups will be implemented in order to mobilize the regional potential. Know-how will be transferred to the target groups at the regional, national and project level.