Pellet transport & storage
  • Pellet transport & storage

Pellet transport & storage

Pellet markets

Wood pellets as solid biomass fuels are gaining more and more importance because of high energy density, consistent quality and increasing demand. The European as well as the worldwide pellet production and consumption have tremendously increased within the last fifteen years. Therefore, the worldwide pellet production rose from 2005 to 2010 from 5.2 to over 15 megatons. The European production has experienced a rapid growth too, the pellet production from 2005 to 2010 increased by 2.6 to 9.2 megatons. These figures imply that more than 60% of the pellets are produced in Europe. In the EU 27 the largest pellet producer is Germany, followed by Sweden and Austria. Approximately 1.9 megatons pellets were produced 2011. About one third of the produced pellets are exported from Germany. Sweden is the second largest pellet producer in the EU in 2010 and produced about 1.5 megatons. Due to the large imports from outside the EU 27, Sweden consumes the highest amount of pellets.

In Europe pellets are used in medium and large scale for heat and power production and in small scale combustion for residential heat production. About 60 % of pellets are utilized in small-scale combustion systems , in which A1 high quality pellets are combusted. These A1 pellets have to fulfil several quality requirements. In Europe the biggest consumer of A1 quality pellets are Italy, Germany, Austria, Sweden and Denmark. Pellets of lower quality, so called industrial or A2 pellets have a market share of about 40%. Especially, in Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain and Denmark are industrial pellets used for power production. The European demand for quality pellets is currently largely covered by own production. The consumption of industrial pellets is depending on imports from Canada and Russia.

The demand of high quality pellets will mainly increase in the residential sector, in particular in the mid-scale (at community level). Not only the already established markets such as Austria, Germany and Italy will be affected. In countries with small markets such as France, Spain or Eastern Europe a strong growth of the pellet industry is expected. A possible shortage of raw materials in Europe, however, might slow the growth. Though, the market development of industrial pellets for power generation, for instance for combined heat and power production is still unclear. The pellet price as well as political subsidies such as feed-in tariffs have a major impact on the future development of this market. Additionally, the uncertain development of the market affects the expansion of production capacity in Canada, Eastern Europe, Russia and the United States. A global increase in production capacity is suspected. Both, the number and the size of the production plants will increase.
The facts and figures were taken from AEBIOM’s 2011 Annual Statistical Report on the contribution of Biomass to the Energy System in the EU 27, from the Pellet market overview report of the Pellets@tlas project and from Sikkema et al. 2011 “The European wood pellets markets: current status and prospects for 2020″.

Pellet transport

Pellet storage