Pellet Raw Material,

For the future market development, the issue of pellet raw materials and its price will be crucial. Presently, the main raw material for pellets is sawdust, however current sawdust resources are becoming increasingly utilised. One solution would be importing saw dust from China, Russia or Southern America. However, concerns about sustainable forestry and long transport routes might lead to a loss of consumer trust and support by public policies

Another option is to use other raw materials. Agricultural products and residues, such as straw, hay, miscanthus or energy crops -so-called agri-pellets -have been at the centre of attention of the pellet community in the past years. Unfortunately, all of them are much harder to burn cleanly than wood, therefore -due to the emission legislation -significant product development is required before mass use in most European countries will be possible

Another promising option are other forest residues, such as wood chips or log wood, and short rotation forests. First experiences are already available in Sweden and Italy where poplar or willow are planted

Raw material for wood pellets is not available infinitely, at least not at relatively low costs. Fluctuations in sawdust availability and price are also caused by the construction industry -if this sector needs less material, this leads to lower activity in the wood working industry which results in lower quantities of sawdust being produced and available for pellet production

Therefore, there is a debate in the pellet community where wood pellets should be used best in the future: in small installations to heat homes, schools and shops or in large power stations where they can substitute significant quantities of coal.

There are those who argue that wood pellet heating is one of the few options available for 100 % CO2 neutral heating of buildings. User-friendliness, low fuel costs and the fact that it is an environmentally friendly solution have already convinced ten thousands of consumers in Europe to make the investment in a pellet stove or boiler

And there are the others stating that pellets, when co-fired in power stations, allow for quick substitution of fossil fuels at very low investment costs

One answer to this debate would be a strong increase in global trade. However, wood pellets which travel around half the globe have lost some of their environmental advantages and will be a lot less attractive to homeowners and to public programmes which financially support the investment. However, the environmental balance looks much better for large power stations in the vicinity of ports

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