EIA: 790,000 tons of densified biomass sold in December

By Erin Voegele | April 05, 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 710,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in December, with sales reaching 790,000 metric tons.

The data was released as part of the March edition of EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which includes data for December. The EIA collected data from 82 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel to complete the report. The report does not include data from facilities with annual production capacities of less than 10,000 tons. Those smaller facilities report data annually rather than monthly.

The 82 manufacturers that submitted data have a combined annual production capacity of 11.76 million metric tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,130 full-time employees.

In December, respondents purchased 1.11 million tons of raw biomass feedstock, produced 710,000 metric tons of densified biomass fuel and sold 790,000 metric tons of densified biomass fuel. Production included 136,249 tons of heating pellets and 580,898 tons of utility pellets.

Domestic sales of densified biomass fuel reached 196,931 tons at an average price of $162.98 per ton. Exports reached 598,023 tons at an average price of $167.89 per ton.

Inventories of premium/standard wood pellets fell to 94,550 tons in December, down from 160,096 tons in November. Inventory of utility wood pellets also fell, from 321,340 tons in November to 229,042 tons in December.

Data gathered by the EIA shows that total U.S. densified biomass fuel production capacity reached 12.64 million metric tons in December0, including 2.43 million metric tons in the East, 9.37 million metric tons in the south and 840,020 metric tons in the West. Approximately 12.15 million tons of capacity is listed as currently operating or temporarily not in operation. An additional 341,700 metric tons of capacity is listed as planned or under construction.

Facilities currently listed as planned or under construction include a 340,000-ton-per-year plant in Georgia under development by Blue Sky Biomass Georgia LLC and a 1,700-ton-per-year facility in New Mexico under development by Mt. Taylor-WoodYouRecycle.