Grow Your Income

Project Description

Iggesund Paperboard, part of the Holmen forest industry group, invested £108 million in a biomass CPH plant at its mill in Workington, Cumbria, UK to eliminate annual emissions of 190,000 tonnes of fossil CO2. “Grow Your Income” increases the mill’s supply of locally-produced biomass by encouraging local farmers to grow energy crops.

Project Purpose

The main aim was to secure the mill’s supply of biomass, with a target set at 5% of the mill’s total need of 500,000 tonnes per year. A secondary aim was to offer an additional source of income to local farmers in a region of marginally productive land. Iggesund’s offer of advice plus help with planting and harvesting was attractive to an ageing rural population that is seeking less labour-intensive ways to make a living.

Project Evaluation

A great external communication effort was required to convince farmers to switch from traditional farming to something new. Iggesund now has contracts with growers who – when crops are fully established – will supply more than 25,000 tonnes of biomass per year, i.e. more than the original project target. The project’s interaction with the local community has helped to raise Iggesund’s local profile. The project has also created a new and stable source of income for local farmers. The farmers, many of whom are ageing and have no family members interested in taking over, have welcomed this.

Cumbria is regularly impacted by severe flooding. Evaluations of the project have repeatedly shown that energy crops have helped to limit flood damage, while remaining undamaged themselves. Iggesund is supporting ongoing trials to further increase productivity by grazing sheep among the energy crops and by plant breeding to optimise the crop plants.
This project could easily be replicated elsewhere given similar conditions.


Ulf Löfgren

Mill Director

Grow Your Income lets us give back more to the local community while stabilising our fossil-free energy supply, says Mill Director Ulf Löfgren. It has greatly helped us to promote Iggesund to one of the most important local industries, farming. Farmers are in a difficult situation and we have offered them a way to diversify, which has been welcomed, adds Alternative Fuels Manager Neil Watkins. Previous energy crop projects in the region failed because farmers had to harvest and transport their crop to a delivery point themselves, so their profit was zero. We have offered long-term, index-linked contracts and we handle the harvest and transport using our existing knowledge and pre-established infrastructure for round wood.


Main features:

CO2 Emissions saved (tCO2)

The biomass boiler in Workington eliminated 190,000 tonnes per year of fossil CO2 emissions.

Investment £900,000


Partnerships with local agricultural contractors (e.g. Rickerby Estates and Metcalfe Farms) plus hundreds of local farmers.