Varberg, Sweden The February morning was crisp and clear as we approached Södra’s Värö Mill, just outside Varberg. White plumes of steam rose from the chimneys, and timber trucks came and went through the gates, supplying the pulp mill and sawmill with raw material. The plant is a great example of a biorefinery, where the forest’s raw materials are turned into paper pulp, wood products, biopellets, district heating, electricity and a host of other by-products. Värö is one of Sweden’s many large-scale biorefineries that form the basis for the continued development of a bioeconomy.
The output from the plant is also set to include cross laminated timber, CLT. This is one of several facilities currently being built, invested in or announced. In just a few years, production is forecast to reach almost a quarter of a million cubic metres. A study by Linköping University suggests that today’s sales of nearly SEK 20 billion will have increased to around 40 billion by 2025, with wood-based construction systems potentially accounting for 50 percent of the homebuilding market. With its strategic logistical location, the plant in Värö will also be able to push exports of construction products.
Just before New Year, Lindbäcks Bygg opened its new state-of-the-art facility in Piteå. Just over 10 km from Värö, the Derome Group is building a brand-new plant for residential production. And Setra is also building a new CLT factory. These three examples are further evidence of the strong growth that is occurring as the new industry takes shape.
Alongside the industry, Swedish politicians are also talking wood. The new Government Bill Policy for the Designed Living Environment highlights the huge potential of wood, both for export and construction. Wood is clearly linked to architecture, form and design, lending new energy to our growing industry and exports.
Almost every day, examples are appearing of new initiatives, projects, production facilities and collaborations, all of which are part of an innovative and growing wood building sector that is making a positive contribution to a more efficient construction sector, a better climate and employment. We’re building a new industry!