Utilisation of willows in biorefining value chains

Closed. 01.09.2020 - 31.12.2021


The project is funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland.


Main funder

Regional Council of North Karelia

Utilisation of willows in biorefining value chains funder logo Utilisation of willows in biorefining value chains funder logo Utilisation of willows in biorefining value chains funder logo

Group description

The project investigates the suitability of willows for the production of technical biochar and the functionality of the resulting value chain. The project is a preliminary study project in its nature of which the objectives of the project are pursued.

Bioeconomy value chains need new sources of biomass to meet the needs of new production. The suitability of cultivated or harvested natural willow for the production of homogeneous technical biochar requires an understanding of the amount and ratios of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignins as well as extractives from different willow species. In addition, information is needed on the content of different metals in the wood and bark and how much willows collect different metals from the soil, both in their wood and in the bark. This information is not available in combined form and/or not fully published. Utilization of willow in the production of technical biochar needs such a knowledge base to support it.

In addition, there are several hundred thousand hectares of abandoned land in North Karelia alone, which are not in active production and use and which could be brought back into production use by the new technical biochar value chain of willow.

The project is divided into two work packages, of which the work package one (WP 1) is made to study of different willows (shelled and debarked) to technical biochar and the quality and active surface area of activated carbon. In addition, the amounts and ratios of hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin and extractives of wood of different willow origin and species are studied (CA =&gt: composition analysis). In addition, the amounts of mineral elements affecting the production of technical biochar in the bark of selected willows will be determined (ICP analysis). CA and ICP analyzes are performed at the Department of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland (UEF). In addition to the laboratories of UEF’s Department of Forest Sciences, Vapo Oy’s laboratory is utilized.

The measured values are used to evaluate the use of willows in the production of technical biochar and to evaluate the effect of bark on the properties of bio – char.

Work package two (TP 2) focuses on clarifying the conditions for a technical biochar value chain. This includes the study of the yield and quality of technical biochar from different willows, as well as the solvency of the raw material with different ownership bases and biomass production solutions. TP 2 also assesses the ability of willow plantations to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The result of the project is assessments of the suitability of willow for technical biochar production and the possibility of a technical biochar value chain as a source of income for rural enterprises. In addition, an assessment is made of whether it is possible to obtain carbon-neutral technical biochar from willow as part of the carbon capture and utilization (CCU) concept.

Time period

01.09.2020 - 31.12.2021

Group members - UEF