Pilot wood chip heating in Bocholt has started

TWECOM aims at demonstrating that local short chain valorization of biomass from landscape elements is economically feasible with a surplus value for ecological, cultural and social functions of these landscape elements. For this reason, 2 pilots will be developed, one in Bocholt Belgium and one in Newbury, UK.

In Bocholt, biomass from hedgerows will be harvested by local farmers. They will produce high quality wood chips which can be used in wood chip boilers of a nearby school campus. A local cooperative will be established. In this cooperative, all stakeholders will be represented as members. The municipality of Bocholt, the schools, Agro|Aanneming and Regionaal Landschap Lage kempen vzw will be the founding members. The cooperative will deliver heat, produced with local wood chips, to the different schools.

Harvesting wood in landscape elements in a sustainable way means that all other functions of these landscape elements are taken into account. Hedgerows do have an ecological value and where relevant, target types and way of harvesting will be influenced by ecological aspects. If relevant, the use of landscape elements will be aligned, and actions of the local farmers will be taken in to account, with European directives such as Natura 2000. Close cooperation with the Flemish Agency for Forest and Nature will be essential. The same goes for the cultural value of hedgerows. Most important is that this exercise will be established in close cooperation with other land users, namely the local farmers. If possible and relevant, optimization in access to fields and ditches will be included in the exercise. All these elements will be assembled in a hedgerow vision plan.

At the end of 2013, the cooperative will be established. During the winter 2013-2014 a certain amount of wood will be harvested, chipped and dried by Agro|Aanneming. In 2014 the wood chip boiler and the heat grid will be installed at the school campus. The hedgerow vision plan will be worked out in 2014 as well.