Populus plants at the researchers' field trial plantation in southern Sweden. Photos by courtesy of Henrik Böhlenius.Researchers in Bio4Energy and a partner will investigate the potential for a rollout in Sweden of plantations of fast-growing poplar trees—Populus trichocarpa in Latin—as a means to increase biomass productionfor making renewable automotive fuels from wood and woody residue.
“We see a great potential for [rollout of] this type of plantation, along the lines of one million hectares that could be added to the current domestic production of bioenergy”, Böhlenius said.
Sweden would benefit from making more advanced biofuels—renewable fuels that do not compete with food production and meet high quality standards in terms of their greenhouse gas footprint—at an affordable cost.
Land is available, to believe official statistics. Roughly 400,000 hectares of agricultural land could be planted with poplar without jeopardsing food production. Another one-to-two million hectare of spruce tree plantations, sitting on former agricultural land, could be used to plant poplar or other fast-growing tree species.