EIA: 680,000 tons of densified biomass fuel produced in May

By Erin Voegele | September 14, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing that U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 680,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in May, with sales reaching 610,000 tons.

The data was released as part of the August edition of EPA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which includes data for May. The EIA collected data from 85 operating manufacturers of densified biofuel fuel to complete the report. The report does not include data from facilities with annual production capacities of less than 10,000 tons. These smaller facilities report data annually rather than monthly.

The 85 manufacturers who submitted data for the report have a combined annual production capacity of 11.82 million metric tons and collectively have an equivalent of 2,034 full-time employees.

In May, respondents purchased 1.23 million tons of raw feedstock, produced 680,000 million tons of densified biomass fuel, and sold 610,000 tons of densified biomass fuel. Production included 132,432 tons of heating pellets and 549,031 tons of utility pellets.

Domestic sales of densified biomass fuel reached 90,000 million tons in May, with an average price of $141.72 per ton. Exports in May reached 520,000 tons, at an average price of $144.48 per ton.

Inventories of premium/standard wood pellets reached 314,366 tons in May, up from 255,752 tons in April. Inventories of utility wood pellets reached 392,569 tons in May, up from 355,438 tons in April.

Data gathered by the EIA shows total U.S. densified biomass fuel production capacity reached 12.64 million metric tons in May, including 11.91 million tons listed as currently operating or temporarily not in operation. This includes 2.43 million tons of capacity in the East, 9.36 tons of capacity in the South, and 845,020 tons of capacity in the West. A total of 603,700 tons of capacity is currently listed as planned or under construction.

Facilities listed as planned or under construction in May include a 37,000-ton-per-year facility in Maine under development by F.E. Wood & Sons-Natural Energy, a 105,000-ton-per-year facility in Alabama under development by MRE Crossville LLC, a 340,000-ton-per-year plant in Georgia under development by Blue Sky Biomass Georgia LLC, a120,000-ton-per-year facility in Tennessee under development by MRE Jasper LLC, and a 1,700-ton-per-year facility in New Mexico under development by Mt. Taylor-WoodYouRecycle.