About the Partners

This page contains information about each of our partners and their specific role in Northern WoodHeat (link to each partners website)

Highland Birchwoods (Lead Partner)

Highland Birchwoods is a partnership initiative which promotes and stimulates the development of a local woodland economy and culture in the Scottish Highlands, with an emphasis on local economic, environmental and social benefits, integrated forest management and product innovation and new resource information to support strategic rural development. Highland Birchwoods will be responsible for the overall management of Northern WoodHeat, and for co-ordinating the project PR strategies.

Highland Council (Wick)

The Highland Council is a local authority with extensive experience of service chain management and delivery. It is keen to be involved in the development of woodfuel supply chains in order to improve local services and employment opportunities through greater utilisation of local resources. It plans to implement a 1.4MW district heating scheme at Wick during the project, and has already undertaken feasibility studies to determine timber supply. It is now concentrating on roundwood bundling techniques, rail and intermodal freight to inform future development of wood fuel haulage solutions for a potential range of small scale entrepreneurs. Locally produced woodfuel will be tested in the Wick boiler to provide data on the calorific value at a range of moisture contents, and on the ash and flue gases generated. The results will be used by both the Scottish industry and consumers and Finnish boiler manufacturers.

Abriachan Forest Trust

Abriachan Forest Trust is a community-owned woodland seeking to demonstrate community development from use of their forest resource. They are looking for alternative markets for their timber, and there is the potential for increased demand for woodchips in the Inverness area; woodchip boilers are being planned at a community site in Smithton and an education centre in Clachbeg which are both within a feasible delivery distance. Abriachan Forest Trust will set up a demonstration supply chain involving harvesting and round wood drying. The project will compare hand and crane-fed chipping techniques, and the chipping of dry and green wood to determine the most economical methods. The dry chips from the project will be trialled in Highland Birchwoods’ boiler, to test for chip quality and consistency.

Dunnet Forestry Trust

Dunnet Forestry Trust is a community woodland of about 100ha which is seeking sustainable local markets for roundwood and woodchip harvested as part of a long-term forest re-structuring plan. The proposed District Heating Scheme at Wick is a potential market for woodchips. Dunnet Forestry Trust will assess ways of optimizing woodfuel from standing timber in small forests, by carrying out trials of different harvesting methods, including felling to tip, clearing pole timber, alternatives to clearfell and residue harvesting. DFT will trial alternative methods of roundwood drying and compare hand and crane-fed chipping of dry and green wood to determine the most economical method.

Highland Wood Energy

Highland Wood Energy Ltd, based in Fort William provide a range of services for wood fuel heating including;

  • Design and Installation of log, chip and pellet heating systems
  • Provision of heat supply agreements
  • Service and Maintenance contracts
  • Design and Consultancy Services
  • Training on equipment operation and assistance with establishment of a wood chip fuel supply.

Within Northern WoodHeat, HWE will compare the economics of drying roundwood and chipping, against green chippings and various methods of chip-drying in partnership with Woodtherm Fuels. The chips will be supplied to numerous hotels, community halls and visitor centers to test their suitability for boilers from 30 to 200kW.

Woodtherm Fuels

Woodtherm Fuels specialize in small scale woodchip production and delivery, and will be working with HWE as outlined above.

DWP Harvesting and Marketing

Set up by progressive forest owners, DWP Harvesting and Marketing is an entirely independent co-operative committed to securing short term and long term benefits for growers through a planned and disciplined approach, cost effective harvesting operations, quality control, environmental management, a reputation built on face to face relationships with customers and contractors leading to on time deliveries into sawmills and wood processors and a high standard of operational practice that facilitates access to markets at all times. Wood heat is a priority for active market development and DWP Harvesting and Marketing’s contractors and wood chipper are available to supply chips to wood fuelled heating systems. DWP Harvesting and Marketing is interested in the development of co-operative models.

Forestry Commission Scotland and Forest Enterprise Scotland

Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the forestry department of the Scottish Executive, advising on and implementing forestry policy. Its mission is to protect and expand Scotland’s forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment. It has its own forest management body, Forest Enterprise Scotland, which manages the national forest estate for Scottish Ministers. It is directed by Scottish Ministers through the Forestry Commission’s Board of Commissioners and its National Committee for Scotland and is funded by the Scottish Parliament.

Forestry Commission Scotland works closely with colleagues in the Scottish Executive, particularly the Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) to deliver the Scottish Forestry Strategy, which is closely integrated with other aspects of rural land use and rural economic policy.
It also contributes to many aspects of wider Scottish Executive policy such as energy, environment and climate change, biodiversity, healthy living, rural transport, tourism and education.

Forestry Commission Scotland’s Technical Development branch will be involved int the planning and implementation of the site-based trials. Forest Enterprise Scotland is interested in developing new markets in woodfuel and is a potential supplier of fuel for district heating schemes. They will be conducting harvesting trials at their site in Dornoch.

The University of the Highlands and Islands Millenium Institute

Inverness College

Inverness College is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands Millenium Institute and is a higher and further education institute which houses the Scottish School of Forestry. SSF are currently installing a woodfuel boiler and chipper on site. The Scottish School of Forestry will be working closely with NCP and Landbunadarhaskolinn a Hvanneyri in developing further education and degree level teaching material, on and off-line distance learning material and CPD events.

Finnish Forest Research Institute (METLA)

The Finnish Forest Research Institute is the lead Northern WoodHeat partner in Finland. They are world leaders in woodfuel research with substantial practical and research experience in forest fuel supply chains. Almost all their forest energy projects have been completed in close relationship with industry and other practical stakeholders of the forest energy sector, and this expertise will be transferred to the other partner countries to facilitate the development of forest energy. Existing expertise will be added to and modified during the course of the project using the results of studies undertaken as part of Northern WoodHeat. METLA will complete an Icelandic feasibility study, liase with Scotland in designing appropriate supply chains, analyse and cost systems, consult in drying trials, transfer the WOD-EN-MAN Consequence Estimation Model into partner’s operational environment and create international demonstration material.

North-Carelia Polytechnic (NCP)
North Karelia University of Applied Sciences

North-Carelia Polytechnic is the first multi-disciplinary polytechnic in Finland, and leads the field in practical wood energy education in Finland. It has experience of large natural resource development and training projects and has run several short term courses. It has also developed a range of continuing and tertiary forestry education packages, and is interested in adapting the education and e-learning material for forest energy. NCP will produce an internet friendly international forest energy education package in English, consult in establishing woodfuel supply chains, complete 6-7 undergraduate theses linked with Scotland and Iceland, run short training courses in Scotland and Iceland and train trainers in all three partner countries. NCP has long experience of cooperation with both JOSEK and Metla.


Joensuu Regional Development Company, JOSEK Ltd carries the operative responsibility for definition of the regional business policy, for business counselling, business development and marketing of the region.

Josek has substantial expertise in business planning , financial engineering and consulting, and experience in creating models for forest fuel business. Finnish experience indicates that successful forest energy supply chains require careful system design and appropriate business solutions between participants in the chain. Josek will liase with Metla and Scottish expertise in developing and analysing supply chain business models.

Hvanneyri Agricultural University

Landbunadarhaskoli �slands

Landbunadarhaskoli �slands is the Icelandic agricultural college, which has a forestry extension remit and GIS expertise. It will contribute to the feasibility study on both market and supply opportunities for woodfuel, and will produce educational material for the Icelandic context in association with NCP and Inverness College.


Heradsskogar is Northern WoodHeat’s Icelandic lead partner. It is an afforestation program facilitating woodland planting an management by 120 private farmers. Currently, the most pressing issue is the market for pre-commercial thinning outputs. As the Icelandic lead partner it will gather data for, and ground truth the feasibility study, promote woodfuel at all levels from users and producers to strategic planners, and coordinate and facilitate adult education and training.

Skograekt rikisins

Skograekt rikisins is Iceland’s state forestry service with substantial expertise and a keen interest in developing small dimension round wood markets. It is the country’s foremost authority on issues concerning forestry. The development branch has regional offices throughout the country and is responsible for extension work with the public as well as the management of Iceland Forest Service controlled land. It will gather data for, and ground truth the feasibility study in association with Heradsskogar, build and fuel the pilot boiler and train its staff in woodfuel techniques.