EIA launches pellet data reporting

By Erin Voegele | January 13, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has published the initial results of a new survey launched in January 2016 to gather information on wood pellets and other densified biomass production, sales and inventory. The survey gathers data from operating pellet plants in the U.S. Facilities with an annual capacity of 10,000 or more tons report data monthly, while smaller facilities file annual reports.

The data shows the U.S. currently has 11.52 million metric tons of existing pellet production capacity, with an additional 2.74 million metric tons planned or under construction. Facilities required to file monthly reports had a combined annual production capacity of 11.4 million tons.

During the first half of 2016, the EIA noted U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 3.3 million tons of wood pellets and sold 3.1 million tons, mostly into foreign markets. Over the same time period, approximately 82 percent of pellet sales were utility pellets sold into export markets, with more than 85 percent of that volume sold to the Drax power plant in the U.K. The remaining 18 percent of pellets sold were sold into the U.S. heating market.