Raul Fernandez Lacruz

Last changed: 20 August 2020

Improving supply chains for logging residues and small-diameter trees in Sweden (2019)


Forestry is expected to play a key enabling role in the transition towards a low-carbon, sustainable, and circular biomass-based economy in Europe. This will increase demand for forest biomass as a source of energy and traditional and new wood-based products. Consequently, it will be necessary to increase the mobilization of underutilized residual woody biomass such as logging residues (LR) and small-diameter trees (ST). While much residual biomass exists in forest land, significant quantities also exist in other lands such as overgrown agricultural land, power line corridors, and roadsides. However, high supply costs make it difficult to bring LR and ST to the market at a competitive price, which limits their utilization. Managing LR and ST supply chains is complex because it involves interconnected upstream and downstream operations performed by several contractors. This thesis aims to measure and analyse characteristics of LR and ST in Sweden, and the efficiency and costs of their supply systems, considering both current (heat and power plants, pulpmills) and future end-users (biorefineries). The main methods used for this purpose in this thesis are GIS analysis, time study, fuel-chip quality assessment, and discrete-event simulation. LR and ST were assessed along different supply chain operations in different operational environments, from the site to the enduser, and potential improvements leading to cost savings were identified. Large quantities of underutilized ST were identified across Sweden. It was also shown that using machines to extract overgrown vegetation along power line corridors could be more cost-efficient than current motor-manual (brush saw) clearing practices: even if this did not provide a net income, it could partially or fully offset maintenance costs. Models for predicting the dry mass content of windrows could improve logistics, and a holistic, supply chain management approach, is crucial for cost-effective delivery of high-quality residual biomass. The use of terminals increases supply costs but helps to secure supply during peak demand and cope with operational problems in the supply fleet that would prevent demand from being met on time in a direct supply system. Further development of supply systems (working methods and technology) is needed to realize the sustainable potential of LR and ST. These results offer policymakers, researchers, and industrial developers and practitioners new knowledge that could improve supply chains and increase the cost-competitiveness and utilization of LR and ST.

Read the doctoral thesis here.


Name: Raul Fernandez Lacruz
Born: 1986
Degree:  MSc in Forest Engineering, Polytechnic University of Valencia (2010)
Supervisor: Dan Bergström (SLU)
Co-supervisor: Tomas Nordfjell (SLU), Fulvio Di Fulvio (IIASA), Anders Eriksson (SLU)
Project started:  2014-11
Dissertation: 2019-06-14
External reviewer: Honorarprofessor Dr Peter Rauch, Institute of Productiona and Logistics, Univeristy of natural resources and life sciences, BOKU, Wien
Doctoral thesis: 2019:44