Study on short rotation coppice supply chain-Rhône Department

Study on the relevance of setting-up a short rotation coppice (SRC) supply chain in in the Rhône Department

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Executive Summary


Under the supervision of: Mearetey GIRAULT

January 2008

The aim of the study is to determine if it’s relevant to organize a Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) supply chain in the rural areas surrounding Lyon. SRC products are destined to supply three wood boilers of the RENAISSANCE area.

The first step of this study was to realize a bibliographic study to analyze the different aspects of SRC (technical, economical, environmental). This study is based on the different experiences carried out in France and in Europe, and more precisely on the experiences of European partners of CONCERTO -RENAISSANCE. Theses experiences permitted to put in evidence the main success of the different projects, which are:
-  An economical profitability for the industries and cities which decided to invest in SRC crops to treat their effluents;
-  Give a positive vision of farmers and industries for a large public;

However, some projects undergone some failures:

-  Main failures of projects are linked to the uncertainties of the market (agricultural and industrials changing policies), which can impact on the confidence of farmers and growers when contemplating diversifying into SRC for energy production;
-  The lack of competitiveness with wood residues market;
-  Some technical problems the first years, which can’t assure the profitability of the project;

The analyse of these experiences rises main key points which are important to carry out the study:

→ Have an appropriated « soil & climate » context for SRC requirements;

→ Create a competitive wood supply chain with SRC, according to the initiator and his main motivation in the project;

→ Adapt SRC to farmer’s know-how, and to their availability (time, soil, tractors);

→ Have environmental concerns on the territory to ensure the profitability of the project;

→ Have key actors on the territory;

→ Gather these different actors around the SRC supply chain.

From these different key points, the second part of the study could be carried out. The aim of this second part is to determine if it’s possible to grow SRC on the Rhône department according to the different key points determined.

The “soil & climate” study was based on water resources (rain, superficial water resources), soil depth, slope, textures, structure and pH. To facilitate the study, the Rhône department was divided into 7 territories (Beaujolais, Monts du Beaujolais, Monts du Lyonnais, Plaine de Lyon and Plateau de Condrieu, Est lyonnais and Val de Saône). This study show that the territories of Val de Saône and Est lyonnais are more adapted to SRC according to their soil and climate conditions.

The competitiveness of SRC supply chain, depending on the different initiators and their motivations, was defined for each case. This observation shows that different cases of competitiveness exist according to the type of project which is initiated.

Concerning the different environmental concerns on the Rhône department, an observation of the different pollutions on the department was done in order to show the potentiality of SRC action on polluted areas or for effluents treatment. Globally, many industries implanted on the department, notably food-processing industries, assure that SRC projects can be initiated on this territory.

Finally, the different actors concerned by this kind of project were listed to assess if they exist on territory.

All these observations permit to determine if some zones of the Rhône department are adapted SRC crops, according to the different territories of the department.

Globally, the more adapted territories are situated in the East of the department: East Lyonnais and Val de Saône. Indeed, these territories seem to collect all the key points described. However, the other territories of the Rhône department should not be outcast, even if they present unfavourable criteria. Precise study should be done to determine the real opportunities of these territories.

The main conclusion of this report is that SRC supply chain can be initiated on the Rhône department, with a preference for the territories situated on the East of the department.

It’s important to note that SRC projects should be multi-actors and based on their different motivations. Thus it’s really important to communicate on SRC with the different initiators and engage some discussions with these actors. The aim of this communication is to raise some projects from the different territories and then create the SRC supply chain.

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