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Söderenergi Nykvarn Terminal - a decade of rail-road development

Celebrating a decade of operations, the Söderenergi Nykvarn biomass terminal in Sweden has evolved as a prime example of how cooperation between an energy utility, a rail freight service provider and rail freight technology provider can push the boundaries of rail-road transportation.

A truckload of biomass fuel on the weigh-bridge at Söderenergi’s Nykvarn terminal before heading off to the Igelsta combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

The story of Söderenergi’s Nykvarn biomass terminal dates back to 2006. Back then the municipal energy utility Söderenergi AB and the state-owned rail freight operator Green Cargo AB began jointly investigating the feasibility of supplying biomass fuels via rail freight for a planned new biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant adjacent to Söderenergi’s existing district heat plant in Igelsta, just outside Södertälje.

In March 2007, the three municipal owners of Söderenergi decided to go ahead and invest SEK 2.4 billion (≈ EUR 258 million) in the 200 MWth and 85 MWe Igelsta CHP plant, the country’s largest at the time.

Develop an off-site biomass terminal

Scenically sited on a hillside overlooking the Södertälje harbour inlet, the site has one major constraint – a lack of fuel storage facilities. And although the lion’s share of biomass destined for the new plant, which was royally inaugurated by HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in March 2010, would be delivered by boat, an offsite storage and logistical hub solution still needed to be found.

Söderenergi’s Igelsta biomass-fired heat and power complex consists of two plants. On the left, a heat only plant that supplies district heat and industrial process steam and on the right a combined heat and power (CHP) plant. An own quayside boat unloading, screening and conveying system services both plants. Woodchips, recycled wood, wood pellets, and crude tall oil (CTO) are used as fuels at the complex.

In August 2008, Söderenergi reached an agreement with property management company, Brinova Fastigheter AB to develop a biomass terminal at an existing non-electrified railway spur in the neighbouring municipality of Nykvarn and lease the facility.

Located on the Svealand railway line approximately 30 km by road from the Igelsta CHP plant, the 8 ha site also had good road infrastructure close to the E20 motorway. In addition, the surrounding industrial zone was being developed for road-rail logistics by the municipality.

By October the same year, Söderenergi signed a five-year contract with Green Cargo for the delivery of around 200 000 tonnes-per-annum of biomass to Igelsta with Green Cargo assuming responsibility for the trainload service covering entire transport chain, from train to terminal, transshipment, and delivery to Igelsta.

Green Cargo, in turn, contracted FORIA AB, one of Sweden’s largest independent logistics and equipment operator service companies to operate the Nykvarn terminal, transshipment and truck delivery to Igelsta.

Rapid development

A year later, in October 2009, the first consignment of woodchips arrived by block train to the terminal. In 2009, a block train or unit train – a train that all the wagons carry the same cargo that is shipped from the same point of origin to the same point of destination – pulled 19 wagons that carried around 750 tonnes of woodchips in open-top containers from Austria-headed Innofreight Solutions GmbH.

Some of the first Innofreight woodchip containers used at the Nykvarn biomass terminal.

The terminal received around four block trains per week and had an annual capacity target of 200 000 tonnes of forest chips, recycled woodchips, and sawmill residues.

To continue reading – Bioenergy International no. 6-2018. Note that as a magazine subscriber you get access to the e-magazine and articles like this before the print edition reaches your desk!

 

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