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Finnish wood pellet production and imports reached new records in 2018

More wood pellets were produced in Finland and imported to Finland in 2018 than ever before. In addition, Finnish pellet exports also increased during 2018 according to the latest wood pellet statistics recently released by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

More wood pellets were produced in Finland and imported to Finland in 2018 than ever before. In addition, Finnish pellet exports also increased during 2018 according to the latest Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) statistics (graphic courtesy Luke).

A total of 385 000 tonnes of wood pellets were produced in Finland in 2018, which was almost one-fifth more than during the previous year, and the highest in history. The previous production record of 373 000 tonnes was reached ten years ago in 2008, said  Esa Ylitalo, Senior Statistician at Luke.

Record imports

In 2018, a total of 95 000 tonnes of wood pellets were imported to Finland, also more than ever before. Imports increased by nearly 10 percent from the previous year. Most of the imported pellets, over 90 percent, were imported from Russia.

In addition, the pellet exports increased from the year before. A total of 43 000 tonnes were exported, one-sixth more than in the previous year. Exports 2018 were directed almost entirely to Denmark and Sweden. The highest export volume was recorded in 2008 when more than five times the volume exported in 2018 was sold abroad.

Energy plants largest consumers

Deliveries by pellet producers based on domestic pellet production decreased by five percent from the previous year to 332 000 tonnes. The majority of this amount, 270 000 tonnes, was used at heat and power plants. The amount of pellets delivered to small-scale housing and farms remained at 62 000 tonnes.

In small-scale housing, the use of wood pellets has not increased as much as was originally expected. It is estimated that there are roughly 27 000 pellet-heated small-scale houses in Finland. Instead, the use of wood pellets is increasing in larger units. New pellet plants are also deployed to replace fossil fuels, Ylitalo said.

Small pellet country

The apparent consumption – production plus imports minus exports – of pellets in Finland 2018 amounted to 436 000 tonnes.

Finland is a small user of wood pellets on a European scale. According to the most recent statistics of Bioenergy Europe, the highest amount of pellets was consumed in 2017 in the UK, totalling 7.5 million tonnes. The majority of these pellets were imported from North America. The consumption of pellets was more than three million tonnes in Italy and Denmark, and more than two million tonnes in Germany, which also is Europe’s largest producer of wood pellets. France, Sweden and Belgium also consumed more than one million tonnes, said Ylitalo.

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