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Jan Häckner Bioenergy Award 2024 goes to Skogforsk duo

Jan Häckner Bioenergy Award 2024 goes to Skogforsk duo
The winners of the 2024 Jan Häckner Bioenergy Award are Professor Rolf Björheden (left) and Mia Iwarsson Wide (right) from the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk). The Award consists of a SEK 10,000 scholarship, presented by Cecilia Häckner (centre) in conjunction with the Swedish Bioenergy Association's (Svebio) Annual General Meeting on April 24, 2024, in Stockholm, Sweden.

The winners of the Jan Häckner Bioenergy Award 2024 are Mia Iwarsson Wide and Professor Rolf Björheden from the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk). The award ceremony was held during the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) Annual General Meeting and conference held in Stockholm, Sweden on April 24, 2024.

In the form of a scholarship in memory of Jan Häckner, the Jan Häckner Bioenergy Award is awarded by the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) to recognize individuals or organizations that have made significant efforts to promote the use of bioenergy in an environmentally and economically optimal way.

Mia Iwarsson Wide and Professor Rolf Björnheden work within the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk), a central research body for the Swedish forestry sector located in Uppsala,

The scholarship is SEK 10,000 and was awarded by Cecila Häckner in conjunction with Svebio’s annual meeting on April 24, 2024, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Focus on forest-derived biomass fuel value-chain

The duo were recognized for their outstanding work developing knowledge about efficient and sustainable production of forest-derived biomass fuels.

An important part of the work has been to spread the knowledge to a wider circle.

I am incredibly proud and happy both for myself and for Skogforsk and all the employees who have been involved and contributed to the successes and results we have had with our work. We have come a long way but there are still many important issues to tackle, not least to create long-term sustainability and stability in the fuel business – both for the energy and forestry industries and not least for the contractors involved, commented Mia Iwarsson Wide.

Professor Rolf Björheden presented a “rearview mirror” review of the More Efficient Forest Fuel System (ESS) program at Skogforsk that he led during 2007-2015.

Skogforsk ran the More Efficient Forest Fuel System (Effektivare skogsbränslesystem – ESS) research program between 2007–2015 with a budget of SEK 133 million.

Professor Rolf Björheden initially headed this work and built a research group with this orientation.

Skogforsk has since, under the leadership of Mia Iwarsson Wide, continued work of analyzing and developing technology and systems for the production of forest fuel.

It feels fantastic. I think this is recognition for all of us at Skogforsk who have worked on this and everyone who has helped in this work. I see it as a sign that we are on the cusp of a new leap in bioenergy. I believe societal concerns over global supply chains impress upon us the need to do more ourselves. The climate and preparedness issues mean a new focus on bioenergy, said Professor  Rolf Björheden.

The Jan Häckner Bioenergy Award 2024 jury motivation notes that:

“Mia Iwarsson Wide and Rolf Björheden are awarded the prize for outstanding work in developing and disseminating new knowledge about the efficient and sustainable production of biomass fuel from the forest”.

Mia Iwarsson Wide and Rolf Björheden have both held leading positions at Skogforsk and in these roles drove the work to develop more efficient utilization of forest fuel with strong personal commitment.

They have credibly spread this knowledge to a wider circle of actors in forestry and the bioenergy industry.

Mia Iwarsson Wide, Program Manager, Value Chains at Skogforsk discussed current forest fuel research.

As a result, new, efficient methods, systems, and techniques for producing and handling forest fuel from logging residues and other forest assortments have had a major impact.

In these times of concern and energy crisis, the latter a result of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the demand for biomass fuels has increased sharply and supply has been limited from a European perspective.

Therefore, it is important to utilize the knowledge that Mia and Rolf have built up at Skogforsk to use more of the unused available potential of forest-derived biomass fuels.

Now, is the time to use the experience and knowledge available to quickly mobilize the unused potential and produce more sustainable forest fuel.

Without the large knowledge base that Rolf and Mia built up with the help of their research group, the starting distance for this would have been much longer and caused more uncertainty in the energy market.

Through extensive scientific- and trade publications, educational courses, and conference activities, Mia and Rolf have provided access to both deep and broad knowledge of forest fuel – an important part of Sweden’s energy system.

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