EU pellet demand, production continues growth
The European Union recently published its annual biofuels report for 2013 with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network, reporting European wood pellet consumption is expected to increase markedly, reaching 20 to 32 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe). The report estimated 2008 consumption at 2.5 Mtoe.
Both domestic production of pellets within Europe and imports have increased in recent years. In 2006, the E.U. produced approximately 3.52 million metric tons of wood pellets. Production is expected to reach 10.15 million metric tons this year, and increase to 10.3 million metric tons in 2014. Imports measured only 800,000 metric tons in 2006, but are projected to grow to 6 million metric tons this year and 7 million metric tons next year.
Consumption has also grown rapidly, from 4.606 million metric tons in 2006 to 14.3 million metric tons last year. In 2013, the EU is expected to consume 16 million metric tons of wood pellets, with consumption growing to 17.1 million metric tons next year.
The U.K. is currently Europe’s largest consumer of pellets, with 4.54 million metric tons of demand expected this year. Denmark and the Netherlands round out the top three consumers, with 2.5 million metric tons and 2 million metric tons of consumption expected this year, respectively. Sweden, Germany and Belgium also consume large volumes of pellets.
Consumption in the U.K., the Netherlands and Belgium is dominated by large-scale power plants, while demand in Denmark and Sweden results from household and medium-scale use.