Through collaboration with Northern WoodHeat’s Finnish partners from North Karelia University of Applied Sciences and the Finnish Forest Research Institute (METLA) an online Woodfuel Training course was devised. This course was delivered to students from the Scottish School of Forestry and representatives from the Forestry Commission Scotland.
The course proved to be an excellent example of how our geographical barriers need not impede the sharing of knowledge and expertise. It is hoped that we can build on this experience and develop further ways to use such media to share information.


The Northern WoodHeat project ran two further seminars on Woodfuel Quality. These seminars were jointly funded by the Northern Periphery Programme and the Scottish Biomass Support Scheme. The seminars were prepared and delivered by Irvine Flett, a specialist in quality issues with over 20 years experience in the wood processing industry. The main focus of these events was woodchip quality. The seminars were attended by current woodfuel suppliers, potential woodfuel suppliers, woodfuel consumers and those in an advisory capacity.


The joint closing conference for the Northern WoodHeat and North Sea Bioenergy projects, funded by Northern Periphery Programme and Interreg IIIB respectively, was held in Strathpeffer in the first week of September. The conference was very well attended, with over 100 delegates present, some having travelled from as far away as Iceland, Finland, The Netherlands and Germany.

Opening the conference was the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Stathspey, Danny Alexander. The plenary session contained talks from Dr Bob MacIntosh, Director of the Forestry Commission Scotland, David Henderson-Howat Deputy Director of Agricultural Division, Rural Directorate, Scottish Executive, Barrie Hudson, who represented the Private Sector and Rebecca Carr of the Forestry Commission. Both Northern WoodHeat and North Sea Bioenergy projects were summarised by their respective project managers, Fiona Strachan and Geert Boesjes.

Due to the large content and results from both projects it was deemed best to hold parallel sessions within which the projects outcomes could be disseminated. This would ensure that each of the two projects many outcomes could be communicated to the delegates in the two day timescale.

The topics of the parallel sessions included: Silviculture, Forest Managing and Harvesting; Woodfuel Technology; Woodfuel Logistics; Using Woodfuel; Agricultural and Woodfuel; Business Models; Woodfuel in Practice, all of which included presentations from participants of both projects. These included amongst them, partners from the United Kingdom, Finland, Iceland, The Netherlands and Germany.

The conference proceedings also included several site visits to see how the use of woodfuel and technology was best put to use. Included amongst these was Aviemore North, which demonstrates how a significant District Heating Scheme can be installed and successfully operated in Scotland. In addition to this, site visits were also conducted at Alvie Estate and The Scottish School of Forestry, both of which demonstrate the benefits of using woodfuel as an energy source.

In addition to the two days of conference proceedings there were also two additional days focussing on the use of woodfuel. At the start of the week there was an excursion to Wick hosted by FC Dornoch. This excursion demonstrated to those in attendance the benefits of woodfuel and was titled “From Woods to Wick”.

Following the official closing of the conference was a seminar hosted by Deeside Woodland Products (DWP). The seminar, the third in a series of highly successful events, focussed on “Collaboration Within the Woodfuel Supply Chain” and was also very well attended, with 40 delegates present. A site visit to The Scottish School of Forestry (SSF) was also conducted and displayed the effective working relationship between SSF and The Forestry Commission.

The conference, and week of woodfuel as a whole, proved to be highly successful. Despite the two projects coming to a conclusion, the feeling was widespread that all parties involved should endeavour to collaborate on future projects in the future. This can be seen as a very positive conclusion as the benefits of sharing knowledge and expertise could be seen throughout the projects and the conference.

The collaborative approach taken by all the project partners has led to a wealth of knowledge and expertise being exchanged between all those involved.

Highland Wood Energy, partners in the NPP funded Northern WoodHeat Project, held a demonstration day on the 3rd of July at Lochaber College, Fort William. The demonstration day included demonstrations of the college’s woodfuel boiler, Highland Wood Energy’s mobile woodfuel demonstration unit (which includes a fully operating woodchip boiler, wood pellet stove and a log boiler). Woodtherm fuels Ltd, another partner in the Northern WoodHeat project and the fuel supplier to the college, demonstrated their wood chipping and delivery systems. After the demonstrations a presentation was held within the college. This explored the practicalities of woodfuel use within Scotland and provided case studies of its use.


The Scottish Agricultural College carried out a trial as part of the Northern WoodHeat Project in July 2007. The purpose of the trial was to establish whether grain driers could be utiilised to dry wood chips in an economic manner. There are many grain driers throughout the Highlands of Scotland which are located close to wood supplies. These grain driers are only used for a small proportion of the year and as such if they could be used to dry woodchips prior to sale this would provide benefits both for the drier operator in terms of an additional income, and also the woodfuel market in terms of a locally produced supply of high quality woodchips. A summarised report of this trial is available on this website.