Press release 2015-05-21

Web app visualizes forest biomass and flows of mass and energy

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has developed a web-application that visualizes the flows of mass and energy between different industrial processes that rely on forest biomass.

The application can be used to analyze the possibilities and potential of a future bio-based economy that makes greater use of Swedish forest biomass for both energy and products.

Sweden envisions becoming a bio-based economy by 2050. This means that materials, energy and chemicals must be bio-based to a far greater extent than they are today. The forest will thus play an important role in the future and it is important to ascertain whether this resource will be sufficient to meet coming needs.

– If we are to assess the possibilities and potential of a future bio-based economy it will be necessary to have a better understanding of the current forest industry, its driving forces and related industrial processes and flows, as well as linkages to the market, says Louise Staffas at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

In a report entitled “Biomass flows from the forest – availability and linkages”, researchers from IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute have mapped the forest-based feedstock currently available on the market. The report explains and visualizes the way in which feedstock flows from the forest are related, and how future changes in forestry practices and the forestry industry may affect these. In addition, the driving forces behind today's forestry industry are described and the way in which these affect the energy and bio-based flows that are available on the market are clarified.

The researchers have also developed a semi dynamic application to visualize the flows of mass and energy between different industrial processes that use forest biomass. The application is based on today’s situation but the user can easily see the impact of various deviations such as changing harvesting volumes and fluctuating feedstock supplies for the pulp and sawmill industries.

– How Sweden's forest resources can be best used, not only for industrial production but also for ecosystem services and the achievement of environmental objectives, is a major challenge. A prerequisite for a constructive discussion of this is that all stakeholders share a common understanding of how everything is interlinked. Our hope is that the application and the report will contribute to such a shared understanding, says Louise Staffas.

Read the report (only awailable in Swedish, but with English summary)

The application is briefly described in the report, and is available free of charge from IVL.
To obtain a copy of the software, please contact Louise Staffas, louise.staffas@ivl.se.

For more information, please contact:
Louise Staffas, louise.staffas@ivl.se
John Munthe, john.munthe@ivl.se
Karin Hansen, karin.hansen@ivl.se