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

By Erin Voegele | March 27, 2018

On March 20, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced U.S. manufacturers of densified biomass fuel reported producing 650,000 tons of product and selling 790,000 tons in December.

The data was released as part of the March edition of the EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which includes data from December. The EIA collected data from 87 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel to complete the report. The report does not include data from facilities with capacities of less than 10,000 tons per year. Those smaller facilities report data annually rather than monthly.

The 87 manufacturers that submitted monthly data reported having a total annual production capacity of 11.83 million tons. Collectively, these manufacturers had an equivalent of 2,071 full-time employees.

In December, the respondents purchased 1.13 million tons of raw biomass feedstock, produced 650,000 tons of fuel and sold 790,000 tons of fuel. Production included 127,731 tons of heating pellets and 522,708 tons of utility pellets.

Approximately 199,570 tons of densified biomass fuel were sold domestically, averaging $152.22 per ton. About 594,096 tons was sold into export markets, at an average price of $181.02 per ton.

Inventories of premium/standard wood pellets fell to 282,844 tons in December, down from 343,011 tons in November. Inventories of utility pellets also fell, from 355,546 tons in November to 290,707 in December.

Data gathered by the EIA shows total U.S. densified biomass production capacity reached 12.71 million tons in December, including 11.99 million tons listed as currently operating or temporarily not in operation. This includes 2.41 million tons of capacity in the East, 9.39 million tons of capacity in the South and 904,320 tons of capacity in the West. An additional 163,500 tons of capacity is listed as planned or under construction.

Facilities currently listed as planned or under construction include a 37,000-ton-per-year facility in Maine under development by F.E. Wood & Sons-Natural Energy; a 4,500-ton-per-year plant in Missouri under development by Enginuity Worldwide LLC; a 120,000-ton-per-year facility in Tennessee under development by NWP Jasper LLC; and a 2,000-ton-per-year facility in New Mexico under development by Mt. Taylor-WoodYouRecycle.

Additional data is available on the EIA website.