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Versatile wood pellets contribute to Europe's energy decarbonisation 

Wood pellets are a very versatile fuel that offers a sustainable and cost-effective solution for producing heat and power. As the EU28 will increasingly need to decarbonise fuel to meet its long-term climate objectives, versatile fuels such as pellets, that are non-weather-dependent, can be used for various energy needs and in turn will further contribute to the energy transition of Europe, according to the Bioenergy Europe 2019 Statistical Report for pellets.

The EU28 produced 16.9 million tonnes of pellets in 2018, ≈10% more than in 2017 (graphic courtesy Bioenergy Europe).

Compiled in close collaboration with the European Pellet Council (EPC), the Pellet Report constitutes an essential section of the Bioenergy Europe 2019 Statistical Report, which for the first time since its launch in 2007, is split into 7 different publications, each one covering a different aspect of bioenergy.

Statistics, studies, and analysis surrounding the uptake of global pellet demand are continuing to show that the EU28 is producing nearly 17 million tonnes of pellets – almost 10 percent growth in 2018 compared to 2017 – with production plants now widespread all over Europe.

This increase in production coinciding with the creation of new pellet plants has led to local jobs and value creation in the sector. As a vast majority of pellet production takes place in rural areas, with wood pellets being produced from wood processing residues, the industry nurtures rural development while assisting in the crucial and vital prevention of forest fires and diseases in these areas.

According to Bioenergy Europe, the sustained growth of this market, 4 percent between 2018 and 2017, exemplifies why pellets are leading the way in this ever-evolving market. Pellet used for heat production is a highly modern and effective solution.

With very high efficiency in combination with the release of extremely low emissions, this is a renewable fuel that brings significant benefits and that proves itself to be effective in the transition for a cleaner Europe.

The increase in the global pellet demand highlights its popularity as this bioenergy source continues to be used in both the industrial and domestic heating markets both in Europe and on a global scale.

Consumption of wood pellets in the EU-28 increased by 8% between 2017 and 2018 (graphic courtesy Bioenergy Europe).

Consumption of wood pellets in the EU-28 increased by 8% between 2017 and 2018 (graphic courtesy Bioenergy Europe).

This enduring demand has enabled the EU28 to remain as the undefeated champions of the sector. On the global pellet scene, Asia continues to go from strength to strength, a growing albeit “somewhat dynamic” marketplace.

Storable and dispatchable

Bioenergy Europe also highlights, is that unlike other renewable solutions, pellets are a sure way of securing energy as they are not weather-dependent; able to produce energy whatever the conditions outside; acting as a substitute for energy storage. Not only does this reinforce the versatility and reliability of the pellet but it also offers a perfect counterpart to those energy sources which are reliant on wind or solar power by providing a constant, dispatchable means of sustainable energy.

Clearly, investing and implementing in this biomass alternative, both in the commercial and domestic markets, will act as a significant lever in alleviating climate change.  Decarbonising the European heating and cooling sector should be a priority and pellets have a great role to play in this.

Implementing incentives and subsidies to replace old age fuels such as heating oil with wood pellets is a foot forward in meeting the EU’s long-term climate objectives.

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