The use of wood and wood pellets made the news this week.

Utility Products says wood is the fuel of the future for Europe and currently dominates the renewable energy consumption despite all the billions of euros spent on wind and solar:

In its various forms, from sticks to pellets to sawdust, wood (or to use its fashionable name, biomass) accounts for about half of Europe’s renewable-energy consumption. In some countries, such as Poland and Finland, wood meets more than 80% of renewable-energy demand. Even in Germany, home of the Energiewende (energy transformation) which has poured huge subsidies into wind and solar power, 38% of non-fossil fuel consumption comes from the stuff. After years in which European governments have boasted about their high-tech, low-carbon energy revolution, the main beneficiary seems to be the favoured fuel of pre-industrial societies…Once the decision had been taken to call it a renewable, its usage soared.

As they phase out coal and replace it with wood pellets to produce electricity while reducing carbon emissions, European power companies are scouring the Earth for wood. Europe consumed 13 million tonnes of wood pellets in 2012 and, based on current trends, will demand 25 million -30 million tonnes a year by 2020.

The Yorkshire Post relates the plans to convert a large electric power station in northern England from coal to wood pellets and other biomass by 2014.

The StarNews writes about how the rising demand for wood pellets in Europe is producing a boom in the southeast US.. Forests and wood pellet mills in this region are providing the fuel for Europe’s electricity generation. Currently the state of Virginia has built 13 pellet plants, followed by Georgia with seven, Florida and South Carolina with four each and West Virginia with three. The impact has been to create a large employment demand throughout the supply chain from the forests to rail transportation to plant and Atlantic Ocean port storage facilities.

Related posts tell us the Mississippi port of Pascagoula is planning to create export facilities for wood pellets as is Savannah, Georgia. Wood pellet plants are being built in Gordon, Georgia and Lucedale, Mississippi.

It is not just Europe which wants wood pellets. Biomass Magazine examines the potential Asian markets for wood pellets. Specifically the post examines the potential for North American pellet firms to meet the demand from China, South Korea and Japan as these nations attempt to reduce their carbon emissions while heating their homes and producing electricity. Currently there is a lack of infrastructure on the North American west coast to export significant amounts of pellets so in the short to medium term Asian demand would have to be meet by closer nations like Russia or Indonesia.

Sweden is getting a combined heat and power biomass plant we learn from Azocleantech. Katrinefors Kraftvärme AB will start construction this month with the plant to open by the end of next year.  wood and a tissue mill’s recycled fibre residues will be used to produce 28 MW of heat and 7 MW of electricity.

Eucalyptus will be producing electricity in the US state of Florida reports The Palm Beach Post. Regulatory approval has been given for Florida Power & Light Co. to purchase renewable electricity from biomass company U.S. EcoGen, LLC. U.S. EcoGen plans to construct 3 biomass facilities to produce a total of 180 megawatts of electricity —enough to power 30,000 to 50,000 homes.

Biomass Magazine tells us Nippon Paper Industries is developing a biomass power project in Japan. The electricity will be used at the company’s newly constructed  Yatsushiro paper mill. The facility, to be operational by the spring of 2015, will use 100% unused woody materials such as timber from forest thinning in the Kyushu region for fuel to generate the electricity.

A biomass plant in the US state of Wisconsin should start generating electric power later this year. Today’s TJM4 says wood debris will come from forests to supply electricity to energy supplier We Energies and paper producer Domtar.

A town in northeastern Brazil is using biomass to power its ceramic industry reports Deutsche Welle. Capela produces ceramic tiles and bricks using biofuel made from eucalyptus and bamboo plants, wood chips, and coconut shells to heat the furnaces and thereby reduce its dependence on crude oil.






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