Highland Birchwoods

Promoting best practice in the sustainable management of forests and woodlands.



PELLETime is a European collaboration between partners in Scotland, Sweden, Iceland and Finland (with Finland being the project lead). The overall aim is to produce a package of tools to enable SMEs to design a sustainable pellet supply chain. That enables local renewable energy resources to be used and to support the energy, self-sufficiency of regions in the northern periphery. The project began in 2007/08, with a budget of €1.765million (€600,000 in Scotland) and will finish in 2010.

The PELLETime project is currently addressing the technological limitations and lack of knowledge that exists due to the small scale production of biomass pellets. Identification and estimation of raw materials, procurement, design of the entire pellet production process, sustainable expansion of the raw material resource, awareness raising, and the dissemination of information to improve market development are all priorities that will be developed until 2010.

The overall aim is to establish SMEs in small scale pellet production, support existing production and enhance energy availability throughout the northern periphery region. That will result in a significant contribution to the efficient use of natural resources and to climate change mitigation and national and pan-european energy policy objectives.

The project has 5 key themes that include:

• Management co-ordination and communication
• Broadening the raw material base
• Material handling and logistics
• Pelletising trials and fuel analysis
• Advisory, consultation and study tours

A detailed overview of all the project areas and timelines can be seen here


  • Field trials have taken place in Orkney and Shetland, looking at the potential of grasses, straw and willow for conversion into pellets. Each project was split into areas such as: crop research, visual impact assessments and biodiversity and the environment, read more here
  • A range of information events and workshops have taken place and a presentation at the annual PELLETime conference
  • Development of local co-operatives
  • A resource assessment of a woodland in Caithness
  • Representatives from Caithness took pact in a central european study tour
  • International symposiums have taken place in Orkney & Shetland, Western Isles and Highland

In the later stages of the project, roadshows are planned in Moray, Wester Ross, Caithness and Sutherland, along with renewable energy worshops.  The project will also feature a conference in Finland, looking at the achievements of all the partners during the lifetime of the project. 

Renewable Heat Incentive Calculator

The government has announced that the renewable heat incentive will be launched in Summer 2011. Final details will be announced in December 2010. This is designed to give a return on the cost of investing in renewable heat technology compared with existing non renewable fuels.

This calculator enables you to calculate the potential income from installing a biomass renewable heat boiler in your building. It is based on the rates published at the time of consultation. These rates and the operation of the scheme could be changed before the final details are published in December 2010. The calculator (in excel format) should only be used as an indicative tool and will be updated once the final details are known.

The calculator is designed specifically for biomass systems, but the Renewable Heat Incentive will be available for other technologies.

Download the Renewable Heat Incentive Calculator

Working in International Partnership

Pelletime is an international project funded through the Northern Periphery Programme.
Full details of the partnership can be found at the PELLETime partnership web site here

Scottish Funding Partners:

Forestry Commission Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Orkney Island Council. Shetland Island Council

Further information is available from Chris Perkins Rural Development Manager, Highland Birchwoods. chris.perkins@highlandbirchwoods.co.uk , +44 (01463) 811611, or visit the PELLETime partnership website here

Find out more on biomass here in the Biomass Basics brochure; you can also watch a video clip on a domestic wood pellet heating system here


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Highland Birchwoods is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland (no. 142892).

Highland Birchwoods, Littleburn, Munlochy, Ross-Shire Scotland IV8 8NN

Tel: +44 (0) 1463 811 606 Fax: +44 (0) 1463 811 607 Email: