Europe accounts for 75% of global wood pellet demand and is more diverse in its use of wood pellets than other regions.

According to Wood Resources International LLC, Europe’s wood pellet industry is the largest in the world and is expected to continue to thrive, at least until 2025.

The key factors driving this increase were pointed out: The increased target for renewable energy supply; biomass plays an important role in increasing demand for wood pellets; Wood pellets have advantages over other forms of biomass in many applications.

Demand for wood pellets is likely to grow by 30-40% over the next five years and depending on how imports develop, Europe’s wood pellet production may need to increase up to 10 million tonnes.

Europe accounts for 75% of global wood pellet demand and is more diverse in its use of wood pellets than other regions. In Europe, wood pellets are used for residential heating 40%, power plants 36%, commercial buildings heating 14% and power and thermal power plants 10%.

Strong demand in both the industrial and residential sectors, is likely to continue beyond 2025. The increase in wood pellet consumption will put considerable pressure on the raw material market in Europe and requires the supply of raw wood.

Raw material prices vary widely by geographic region, but increased competition for wood fibers, including sawmill by-products, will impact the pulp and board industries in Europe. Europe.

europe accounts for 75 of global wood pellet demand
Wood pellets for export from Vietnam (Photo taken at Phu Tai Bioenergy Joint Stock Company)

The most important raw materials for the wood pellet industry today are sawmill by-products accounting for 85% of the total output, round wood for 13% and recovered wood for 2%.

It is forecast that the proportion of these materials will change in the coming years, when the wood pellet industry expands. While wood scrap will remain an important feedstock, particularly in Northern and Western Europe, it will not be enough to meet the future demand for fiber from the burgeoning wood pellet industry. Therefore, a new source of fiber is urgently needed and the biggest potential for increasing supply is forest by-products and energy-producing crops.

Experience from North America shows that wood waste can be used more to make interior fiber. Although the production of wood pellets has a higher ash content, it is usually a low-cost raw material, for example, logs and wood chips. This practice is increasingly common in both the American South (mainly for wood pellets exported to Europe) and Canada (mainly for exports to Europe and Asia). In Western Canada, sawmill by-products as a share of total feedstock have fallen from 97 percent in 2010 to 72 percent in 2020, with the remainder being forest by-products and logs.

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