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Svebio presents proposals to stimulate Swedish biorefinery investments

The Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) has presented a series of robust steering instrument proposals that it says would enable Sweden to realize the potential of forest residues as feedstock for the production of advanced biofuels for transportation including shipping and aviation.

On February 12, 2020, the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) held a well-attended press and stakeholder briefing in Stockholm on the key findings of a project funded by Sweden’s Innovation Agency (Vinnova). Coordinated by Svebio, the aim of the project was to develop proposals for facilitating investments in new Swedish biorefineries to produce advanced biofuels from, primarily, forest residues for domestic transportation including shipping and aviation.

Several Swedish companies are developing technologies for converting forest raw materials into high-quality advanced biofuels and several are investigating opportunities for commercial large-scale production in biorefineries.

In December 2018, the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) was granted SEK 1.4 million (≈ EUR 136 000) in project funding from Sweden’s Innovation Agency (Vinnova) to develop proposals for facilitating investments in new Swedish biorefineries to realize the potential of forest residues as feedstock to produce advanced biofuels for domestic transportation including shipping and aviation.

The project has been completed and a summary of the project findings was presented at a press and stakeholder briefing in Stockholm on February 12, 2020. The result is three proposals for robust steering instruments that would enable Sweden to realize this feedstock potential by providing investors and stakeholders with a stable and long-term, technology-neutral regulatory environment.

In the project, we have identified both the core factors in the investment process as well as what risks are the most critical for investors in Swedish biorefineries. From this, we have drawn three proposals of robust steering instruments, which reduce the risks and make it possible for the large-scale production of biofuels, said Tomas Ekbom, Programme Director Biofuels at Svebio and coordinator for the project, during the briefing.

Svebio is now submitting to the Swedish government the final report with these proposals on how to facilitate new Swedish biorefinery investments as well as stimulate fossil-free domestic shipping and aviation. This is in line with the government’s goal of developing a circular carbon-neutral bio-based economy.

“The interesting thing is that this work has been done by leading producers and project developers. The discussions have also involved banks and other financial and investment service providers and other stakeholders. The proposals are thus made on a sound business basis,” said Tomas Ekbom, Svebio.

Coordinated by Svebio, the project involved biofuel producers Energifabriken and Sekab, forest industry majors Holmen and Södra Skogsägarna, advanced biofuel project developers RenFuel Lignolproduktion, PyroCell, and Porcupine as well as the Swedish Association for Road Transport Companies (Sveriges Åkeriföretag).

In addition, Svebio has also used its BioDriv network with about 60 companies and organizations promoting biofuels, covering all parts of the value chain of the Swedish transportation sector.

If we succeed with this, the industry can make large investments worth tens of billions of SEK, which provides thousands of new jobs. In addition, the aviation sector would soon be able to refuel aircraft with Swedish biojet fuel, and we would see a similar development in shipping, commented Gustav Melin, CEO of Svebio.

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