Fuelwood can provide both cheap heating and power, especially for remote rural areas, as well as being a source of local employment. It comes in a variety of forms - logs, woodchips, pellets, offcuts and sawdust - and can be used in wood stoves, house boilers, district heating schemes, and for power generation.
This project builds on growing interest in fuelwood schemes, combined with practical experience from this and other countries, to promote schemes in rural Scotland. Using new technology, community-based schemes are now economically viable and can provide for heating and power needs. Such schemes can use forest and woodland waste as well as the by-products of timber processing. Due to the cost of transport, small-scale fuelwood schemes are nearly always more economic than large schemes (unless the large scheme can sell both heat and power or uses "waste" material from timber processing.
While many local people in rural areas are interested in fuelwood, most are put off by the high startup costs involved. Experience in Scandinavia has shown that community-based fuelwood schemes can be cost-effective. We are also aware that the vast majority of fuelwood used for heating in Scandinavia is used in domestic log stoves.
Working with a range of partners and funders, the project has delivered:
- Three highly successful seminars on community fuelwood (Kinlochleven Community Centre - May 2002; Winton House, East Lothian - March 2004; Dalry, Dumfries and Galloway - June 2004)
- Site visits to working schemes to give groups the opportunity to see fuelwood schemes in operation (Kielder Village, Northumberland and Russel Rd Depot, Edinburgh)
- Three Woodfuel Information Sheets (forming part of the Community Woodland Information Pack)
- Three issues of Scottish Woodfuel News
Due to funding constraints, current activities are limited to producing Scottish Woodfuel News (third issue published October 2007). However, there are plans to carry out further work as funding permits.
To get in touch about the project, or to offer material for future issues of Scottish Woodfuel News, please email .
Scottish Woodfuel News 1 (Nov 2004)
Including a report on the South West Scotland Fuelwood Seminar, a listing of community woodfuel schemes in Scotland, and useful fuelwood contacts.
Download Scottish Woodfuel News No.1 here (PDF file LARGE FILE - 3.7MB)
Scottish Woodfuel News 2 (May 2007)
Including a feature on the Finnish perspective, and a map of small-scale woodfuel schemes in Scotland:
Download Scottish Woodfuel News No.2 here (PDF file 215KB)
Scottish Woodfuel News 3 (November 2007)
Including Forestry Commission Scotland Woodfuel Update, Northern WoodHeat Conference, and a domestic woodfuel case study:
Download Scottish Woodfuel News No.3 here (PDF file 250KB)
Reforesting Scotland Journal
Issue 28 (Autumn 2002) of the Reforesting Scotland Journal has a special feature on fuelwood, and contains the following articles:
- Developing fuelwood
- The science of wood as a fuel - the main factors affecting the burning of wood and heat output
- From wet wood to dry fuel - why drying is the missing link in commercial wood fuel production
- Real central heating with logs - a log-fuelled boiler and how it works
- Choosing your fuel - logs or chips?
- Making fuelwood work - how Kinlochleven Community and Sports Centre is powered by fuelwood
- Fuelwood success in Sweden
If you wish to buy this issue, please see the information on ordering back issues on the Reforesting Scotland Journal page.
Community Woodland information sheets
Information Sheet 11 gives a general introduction to woodfuel. The sheet is an introduction to the techniques and equipment used for small and community scale fuelwood schemes, and also features a list of sources for obtaining more information. It is divided into the following sections:
- Why use wood as a fuel?
- Setting up a fuelwood scheme
- Choosing and harvesting your fuel
- Drying the fuel
- Wood-burning equipment
- Planning controls
- A list of organisations to contact for advice and support, obtaining funding, developing projects, and buying wood-burning equipment
More detailed information is given in Information Sheet 11a (Fuelwood for Homes)
and 11b (Fuelwood for Communities).
Information on ordering this sheet can be found on the information sheets page.