The demand for biomass fuels has risen sharply as industries and utilities across Europe scramble to replace coal, oil, and natural gas in almost any application it’s possible. And, as Europe heads into the 2022/2023 heating season, how can the supply chain source, secure, and produce more biomass fuels?
Russia’s invasion- and ongoing war of attrition in Ukraine coupled with Moscow’s “weaponization” of gas flows to continental Europe, are resulting in the highest and most volatile energy prices ever seen.
Woodchip and pellet prices follow other energy price rallies up and have reached unprecedented levels in northern Europe.
It is against this movie-like almost apocalyptic backdrop, that the 5th edition of the Swedish Bioenergy Association’s (Svebio) annual Fuel Market Day conference will be held – an ideal opportunity to get an initiated insight from buyers, sellers, and traders into the current biomass market situation in Northern Europe, and where it might be headed for the coming heat and power season.
To be held as an “on-site and online” event on September 8, 2022, at the Royal Academy of Sciences (IVA) conference venue in Stockholm, Sweden, prominent bioenergy experts, actors, and biomass traders will focus on forest fuels and waste wood, as well as pellets and bio-oils sourcing and production, to handle the coming power and heating season.
Biomass fuel availability
The Swedish forest industry recently adopted to accept smaller sawlog and pulpwood dimensions at the expense of fuelwood.
Mattias Bisaillon, Consultant Researcher at Profu, will discuss Swedish and international bio-oil and woodchip markets and share the latest insights and analysis from surveys and interviews on market development and prices of woodchips and bio-oils.
Swedish sawmill production volumes are showing signs of decline ahead, and available by-product volumes will automatically follow suit.
Yet there are still large volumes of European spruce bark beetle-damaged wood to be dealt with. How does a Swedish forest company act to meet increasing biomass fuel demand? Will it sell larger quantities to Europe instead where prices have doubled?
Not that straightforward, sourcing new sustainable biomass volumes come with a variety of other market constraints and considerations as Fredrik Munter, CEO of Mellanskog will provide perspectives.
Representing Enviva Inc., the world’s largest producer of “sustainably sourced woody biomass”, Justin Tait will share Enviva’s take on how a large producer can contribute to supply solutions and volumes for heat, power, and other energy end-use opportunities that are unfolding.
Tune in to Lisbeth Lyck Sevel, Lead Sustainability Advisor at Danish energy utility Ørsted A/S, which on an annual basis, uses around 1 million tonnes of woodchips and 2 million tonnes of pellets primarily sourced from Denmark, Europe, and North America.
With new Danish sustainability requirements in place, Ørsted assists international suppliers to help forest fuel producers to adapt to these requirements.
Addressing administrative bottlenecks
Speaking of sustainability requirements, EU Member States are required to anchor the requirements for the sustainability certification of biomass fuels into national law.
While some countries have already done so other states have now been reminded to implement REDII without delay.
The method of implementation differs so that there is a risk of a patchwork of different regulations from country to country. It takes time until supply chains are fully integrated and biomass fuels can be marketed as REDII-compliant.
Thomas Siegmund from SUSTAINABLE RESOURCES Verifications Scheme (SURE) will report on the experiences from one year of REDII certification in Germany, expected bottlenecks, and challenges and provide an outlook on further developments.
Is increased biomass supply chain transparency a way forward to mustering additional sustainable biomass volumes?
As it stands, according to Svebio, in some regions woodchip prices have hardly moved, while in others heating plants cannot get a hold of fuel.
That different companies face completely different realities is negative for all parties – biomass suppliers and utilities – because some do not get fuel while potential producers in some areas are not even aware that there is an increased demand.
The consequence is that not everyone gets fuel while the market supply chain suffers from underinvestment.
Would the Nordic-Baltic Sea Region biomass fuel market work better if prices were more transparent so that companies act in time on a price change?
Let the data speak – Andrius Smaliukas, from Baltpool, will discuss statistics and traded volumes at Baltpool Exchange.
Clear is that together with other speakers, presenters, and participants, IVA’s distinguished conference venue is set to become a cold-war-era biomass situation room on September 8, 2022.