Large-scale poplar plantations can provide raw material for biofuel production

Sweden has very good conditions for large-scale plantations of poplar or other fast-growing deciduous trees that could be harvested as a biomass base for fuel.

The study has mapped production capacity per hectare under different cultivation conditions and available areas. It has also investigated physical properties and suitability for fuel production of the produced biomass. An evaluation of the economy through the biofuel production line is included.

The results show that poplar has a high biomass production capacity. On arable land, the annual production for southern and central Sweden is about 8.4 tonnes of dry matter per hectare, while in northern Sweden it is around 6 tonnes.

In total, there are approximately 478,000 hectares of open land that is not used for food production and approximately 1.3 million hectares of planted arable land (spruce fields) where fast-growing deciduous trees could be planted. If 25% of the arable land and 5% of the fertile forest land are used, where forested arable land is included, poplar plantations can generate a large addition of biomass.

A plant with a raw material capacity of 443,000 tonnes of dry matter biomass per year can contribute with 1.3 TWh, corresponding to 150,000 cubic meters of biofuel. This can be compared with the total Swedish need for biofuels in 2030 being estimated at 5.6 million cubic meters according to the Swedish Energy Agency.

In terms of transport distance for the biobased raw material and proximity to relevant industry, the best location for a bio-refinery seems to be in Västra Götaland.

Results from the project were presented (in Swedish) in a webinar on 7 April, 2022:


Henrik Böhlenius, SLU Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


Per-Ove Persson, Persson f.N.B. AB // Marcus Öhman, Bio4Energy (Luleå University of Technology, LTU)

Time plan
1 July 2020 - 31 December 2021

Total project cost
2 193 000 SEK

The Swedish Energy Agency, the f3 partner organisations, Bio4Energy (LTU), Persson f.N.B. AB and SLU.

Swedish Energy Agency's project number within the collaborative research program

The project has had a reference group with participants from Norra Skog, the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket), Höganäs, Skogssällskapet, Preem och private land owners.