Sweden’s Transition to Renewable Fuels: MSU Community Can Hear How It’s Being Done

  • Pin It
Steve Pueppke and Ray Miller examine a stand of willow trees in Växjö that are a prime source of woody biomass (view larger image)

In 1996, the southeastern Swedish city of Växjö pledged to become free of fossil fuels by 2050. Realizing that it couldn’t reach such a lofty goal in one leap, the town established intermediate steps, such as halving carbon emissions per capita by 2010. So far, the city has reduced carbon emissions to 3.5 tons per person (a 25 percent reduction) and has the lowest level of any urban area in Europe.

How did Växjö do it?

On Feb. 28, the MSU community can learn more about Växjö‘s transition to renewable fuels at a seminar conducted by representatives of Sweden’s energy, forest and bioenergy agencies, as well as private industry. The seminar, part of the Department of Forestry’s Hanover Forest Science Seminar Series, will take place in 151 Communication Arts and Sciences Building at 4 p.m.

Växjö‘s wood-burning combined heat and power plant is a large part of the reason for the city’s miniscule carbon output. Fueled by woodchips and other wood waste from area sawmills, the plant provides heat, hot water and electricity to 95 percent of the city’s homes. The plant is highly efficient, and almost no wasted power goes up the smokestack in the form of chemical gas. As a result, there’s no odor and only a wisp of steam.

“Everything relevant to the bioenergy chain can be found in and around Växjö, from the forest equipment to the combined heat and power plant,” said Hans Gulliksson, project manager of the Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden, who is one of the presenters. “We firmly believe in what we are doing and are happy to talk to people about what we have achieved and how we have done it.”

The seminar was organized by Raymond Miller, research forester and MAES Upper Peninsula forest properties manager, and is another benefit of Miller’s August 2007 trip to Sweden with Gov. Granholm, Michigan Economic Development Corporation officials, Michigan Tech researchers and other MAES scientists. Miller and others met several times with Gulliksson while in Sweden.

There is no fee to attend the seminar, and no reservations are required. For more information, contact the Upper Peninsula Tree Improvement Center at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Rich Kobe, MAES forestry researcher, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Download a copy of the seminar flyer.

Click to subscribe to our e-publications: