Pure energy

Burning wood chips is a CO2 neutral energy source and therefore an eco-friendly choice. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the combustion of the chips is similar to the amount of CO2 emitted if the tree was to let die and rot.

Wood chip district heating

The wood chip district heating is the first of its kind in Iceland. In Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, though, where firewood is available nearby, this kind of house heating has become very common.


The forest in Hallormsstadur is the most famous forest in Iceland and features the country´s highest trees. Therefore it suits that firewood from it is used to heat the community inside it.
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Project History

Over 90% of Iceland´s households are heated with geothermal water.  Until recently filament and oil-fired heating have been used exclusively for household heating in Iceland´s cold areas, where geothermics are not sufficient for geothermal water heating. The wood chip boiler in Hallormsstadur is the first one of its kind and scale in Iceland. In the beginning the 500 kW boiler will provide hot water for a domestic science school, an elementary school, a gymnasium, a swimming pool and a guest house. Later on it is planned to connect all residential houses to the heating network.

PelletimeNorthern Woodheat bæklingur á enskuThe idea to set up a woodchip boiler in Hallormsstadur came up during Iceland´s participation in the Northern WoodHeat project from 2004-2007. The project was funded by the Northern Periphery Programme of the European Union.  Partner countries besides Iceland were Finland and Scotland. The Icelandic Forest Service in Hallormsstadur, the Agricultural University of Iceland and the Heradsskogar afforestation project took part for Iceland and project coordination lay in the hands of forestry consulting firm Skograd ehf.

HallormsstaðurIn the village of Hallormsstadur (pop. 75) test holes have been drilled in search of geothermal heat. The drillings yielded no results making geothermal heating ineligible. On the other hand grows another energy source in and around Hallormsstadur: forests. Close distance to the raw material is of crucial importance because transport costs play a big role for a product like timber that has not been processed very much. Until now it was difficult for the forest owners in the community to sell their products. The start-up of the wood chip boiler generates a new market for the products of the municipality´s forest owners and creates employment in the countryside.

Since the year 1990 the state has provided considerable subsidies for tree plantings on private lands, mainly through regional afforestation projects like Heradsskogar (the afforestation project in east Iceland). The oldest forests are due for their first thinning. Timber from first thinnings is generally of poor quality. But, since the use of wood as fuel sets very little conditions regarding timber quality, timber from first thinnings suits wood fuel purposes well. These prerequisites encouraged Iceland´s participation in the Northern WoodHeat project – whose main aim was to develop markets for forest products.


Vaxtarsamningur AusturlandsKynnið ykkur bakhjarla og samstarfsaðila verkefnisins.


HeizomatThe German company Heizomat designed and manufactured the woodchip boiler for the district heating plant in Hallormsstadur.


PELLETime bæklingurThe PelleTime project is a Northern Periphery Programme supported by the EU and among other things a platform for all partners of the wood chip boiler project.