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Study (2017): Global Wood Pellet Industry and Trade

A study conducted for the International Energy Agency (IEA) provides a comprehensive inventory regarding the wood pellet industry and the markets of more than 30 countries.

The global production of wood pellets has increased four-fold over the past ten years - from an estimated 6-7 megatons (Mt) in 2006 to more than 26 Mt in 2015/16.

An increasing demand is expected. Certified wood pellets are not only co-incinerated in coal-fired power plants, but are also used for single burning in converted coal-fired power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during power generation. Wood pellets are also used as solid fuel in the domestic sector. In the future, according to the authors, they could also be a renewable resource for "green chemistry" and biobased materials.

However, in many countries of production there is still a lack of sustainable infrastructure with regard to biomass supply, storage, loading, as well as handling of capacities in the production regions and in commercial areas. In addition to the already achieved standards, such as the development of sustainability criteria for wood, successful certifications and technologies for the supply of pellets from more sophisticated raw materials (for instance, the fermentation of raw materials on a straw basis), the study shows that there is still a lot of potential regarding the optimisation of achievable greenhouse emissions savings via wood pellets.

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