Best Young Biomass Researcher Malin Pettersson, Lund University, Sweden Paper "Enabling wood ash recycling to ensure sustainable forest utilisation"
Malin Pettersson is a PhD student in Environmental and Energy System Studies at the Lund University in Sweden. She holds a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the same university.
Recycling wood ash back to the forest is important to compensate the out-take and ensure long-term sustainable forest management. However, co-incineration with waste wood – a practice driven in Sweden by the political goal of a circular bioenergy system – generates contaminants that hinders ash recycling. In the paper, a case study at a typical Swedish district heating plant showed that the forest fuel ash alone could be recycled to forests, but that co‐incineration with waste wood generated such high levels of contaminants that the ash was commonly landfilled as hazardous waste. An assessment of the Swedish district heating sector showed that wood ash contamination through co‐incineration is common, thus resulting in only a minor proportion of the forest fuel ash being recycled back to the forest. The paper advances practical measures to enable wood ash recycling and calls for comprehensive and efficient policy tools to overcome current.