Södra CLT: World’s Greenest Mass Timber Plant Wows Aussies

The new manufacturing facility has the capacity to process 100,000 cubic metres of cross-laminated timber and is powered by its very own biofuel

Wed 14 Jun 23


Australian delegates on the WoodSolutions and TDA Study Tour of Sweden and Norway have found the scale of Södra’s newest cross-laminated timber plant “difficult to comprehend.”

Inaugurated in March this year, the facility has successfully increased mass timber production tenfold.

On the final destination on the first day of the tour (June 11 to 17), Södra’s Business and Product Development Manager Ola Landqvist provided guests with a tour of the Värö facility described as ‘the world’s greenest mass timber facility.’

The new plant can process 100,000 cubic metres of timber annually to build 4000 apartments.

It operates off green energy produced at Södra’s neighbouring pulp mill at Värö.

Footage courtesy of Clarissa Brandt from Timber Queensland

In 2021, Södra calculated that it had a 14.5 million tonne net-positive climate impact by combining total forest stocks, substitution effects, and supply chain emissions.

Södra claims that CLT produced by its new plant only has an impact of 34 kg CO2 e/m3, which is an 80% reduction compared to typical concrete frames.

To meet supply, 350 timber trucks haul processed timbers supplied by three trains set up to deliver daily timber supplies.

According to Landqvist, the facility is “completely fossil-free inside the gates”, with 75% fossil-free trucks hauling timbers less than 100 km to the port in Varberg.

The plant was opened in March 2023. Footage courtesy of @prodajaledinek

Södra is Sweden’s largest forest owners’ association, with 52,000 forest members participating in the collective, covering 2.8 million ha of forest area. It employs 3300 full-time employees and produces 18 million cub m of timber.

On average, forest managers have 50 hectares with a feeling of just 2 hectares.

The key for Södra is not to take more from harvest but rather to improve recovery and add value to the forests harvested.

Of the 18 million cubic metres of timber produced, 2.2 million cub metres is for lumber and sawlog, with the balance for paper, pulp and biomass.

More than 80% of the product is exported internationally, primarily within the European Union but also to the UK, the US, China, Japan and areas across Asia.

Södra has dual FSC and PEFC certification, with timber sourced from forest members carrying full chain-of-custody certification.

The new facility took 2.5 years to build and comprises a 270-metre-long building. The frame consists of glue-laminated timber (GLT) combined with CLT, produced by Södra.

The remainder of the building is made from structural timber and cladding.

At the plant’s launch, Lotta Lyrå, CEO of Södra, said.

“Today is a proud moment for Södra’s entire organisation – members, employees, and customers are continuing to work together to build stronger value chains that enable us to meet society’s demand for sustainable and innovative products from family forestry.” 

Inside the facility, 14 people operate on two shifts to produce two mother or master panels an hour, with two shifts a day producing 30 panels a day.

All offcuts go to Södra’s bioenergy plant, which produces more than enough energy to power the CLT plant fully. In fact, Södra’s bioenergy plant provides 1% of Sweden’s total power!


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