Report provides updated EU pellet data

By Erin Voegele | August 14, 2017

A report recently filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network notes wood pellet production in the European Union reached approximately 14.8 million metric tons in 2016, accounting for about half of global production.

Although the EU is the world’s biggest pellet producer, the report indicates that most of the region’s pellet plants are small or medium sized. In addition, most of the main pellet producing countries within the EU have large domestic markets for residential heating pellets. Exceptions include Latvia, Estonia and Portugal, with produce pellets primarily for export for use in power plants.

Germany is the third largest pellet producer in the world, after the U.S. and Canada. The country currently has approximately 70 pellet plants with a combined capacity of 3.5 million metric tons per year. Most of the wood pellets produced in Germany are used for heating. Following Germany, the EU’s top pellet producers include Latvia, Sweden, Austria and France.

While the EU produces approximately half of the world’s wood pellets, it represents about 75 percent of the market. According to the report, the EU consumed approximately 22.2 million metric tons of wood pellets last year, with 65 percent of that volume used for heating and 35 percent for power. The U.K., Italy, Denmark, Germany and Sweden are the top consumers of pellets in the EU.

The report notes Italy is expected to be the largest European market for residential pellet use, with consumption expected to reach 5 million metric tons per year by 2020. Only 15 percent of demand, however, is met by domestic production. The balance is met by increasing imports. Italy currently sources pellets primarily from Austria, Croatia and Germany.

The report also includes data on the EU biogas, ethanol, biodiesel and advanced biofuel markets. A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the USDA FAS GAIN website.