Norway's Energy Farm

by E Eid Hohle, Norway


80 km north of Oslo, near Brandbu in the Hadeland-region, the farm Eidsalm has been run as an information and demonstration centre for the production, use and sales of biomass energy for transportation, heating and drying purposes. The farm also demonstrates the utilisation of solar energy for water and air heating. Its aim is to show commercial ways of using renewable energy resources in Norway. The demonstration farm has been supported by the Ministry of Energy in Norway since 1991.

Energy Needs

Through the use of biomass waste and solar heat, the Energy Farm is almost 90% self-sufficient for all direct energy needs on the farm. The last 10-15% is mainly hydro-electric power used for electric lighting, motors and pumps. Thus, almost 100% of the direct energy need is met by renewables.
 Seventy-five percent of the energy use is for commercial and economic systems; the remainder is for pre-commercial technology, which is more expensive than traditional energy systems.


Visitors to the Energy Farm can tour the following demonstrations.

  • Production of energy-crops (canola seed crops, energy grasses and energy forestry).
  • Biomass residues from traditional agriculture and forestry, used for energy.
  • Harvesting, transport, drying and storage of biomass energy for internal use and sales.
  • A hot-water-based system providing space and tap-water heating powered by wood-chip burning (115 kW), solar panels (30 kW) and hydro-electricity (30 kW).
  • Drying of wood-chips, hay, cereals etc, in a "universal dryer". The dryer is heated by a 300 metres squared concrete roof solar collector producing 50-100 kW through the drying season.
  • Alternative fuel use in the farm's vehicles including the production and use of PME (plant methyl ester) for transport energy. two biodiesel cars and a biodiesel tractor use PME, while another tractor runs on wood-based bioethanol.
  • Marketing and distribution of biomass energy to the local energy market.
  • Energy budgets for the farm.
  • Exhibitions of other available bioenergy and solar energy systems, not used on the farm.

Of the total harvested biomass from the farm (50 ha agriculture, 1,100 ha forests) 40% is used for industrial purposes, 10% for food production and 5% for energy purposes. Of the biomass energy produced, 200 MWh, or 30%, is used for heating purposes on the farm while the rest is sold as wood chips or firewood. From a biological and technical perspective, the rate of new growth is 10 times greater than the current rate of harvesting.

 The price of the biomass energy produced and used internally varies between $0.04/kWh (where $ is the US dollar) for hot water heated by wood-chip burning and $0.07/kWh for solar energy based hot water. By using biomass in this way, the Energy Farm saves about $5,000 per year compared to the use of traditional energy carriers in Norway.

Visitors Welcome

The Energy Farm collaborates with various firms producing biomass and solar energy systems in Norway and other European countries, in order to demonstrate and give information to visitors about the status of commercialisation. Producers and firms interested in demonstrating their products are invited to contact the farm.
 Visitors to the farm - about 1,000 per year - represent a broad variety of groups such as energy firms, politicians, farmers, students, environmental organisations, research institutions, etc. Besides direct information through visits, information is given through papers and telephone support.
 Meetings and short courses are also arranged by the farm, often in collaboration with the Norwegian Biomass Energy Association. Visitors from outside Norway are also welcome to visit the Energy Farm in the beautiful Hadeland region in the centre of southern Norway.

For more information contact the CADDET Norwegian National Team in Rud.

The CADDET Renewable Energy Newsletter is a quarterly magazine published by the CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy at ETSU, UK.

The articles published in the Newsletter reflect the opinions of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official view of CADDET.

Enquiries concerning the Newsletter should be addressed to
Pauline Toole, Editor, CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy, ETSU, Harwell, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1235 432968, Fax: +44 1235 433595.