EIA: 900,000 tons of densified biomass fuel sold in October

By Erin Voegele | February 15, 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing that U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 750,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in October 2018, with sales reaching 900,000 tons.  

The data was released as part of the January edition of the EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which includes data for October. 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. These smaller facilities report data annually rather than monthly.

The 82 manufacturers who submitted data for September have a combined annual production capacity of 11.76 million tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,105 fuel-time employees.

In October, respondents purchased 1.5 million tons of raw biomass feedstock, produced 750,000 tons of densified biomass fuel, and sold 900,000 tons of densified biomass fuel. Production included 174,077 tons of heating pellets and 571,430 tons of utility pellets.

Domestic sales reached 287,689 tons at an average price of $162.04 per ton. Export sales reached 613,872 tons at an average price of $164.07 per ton.

Inventories of premium/standard wood pellets fell to 205,008 tons in October, down from 310,154 tons in September. Inventories of utility wood pellets also fell, from 382,607 tons in September to 333,249 tons in October.

Data gathered by the EIA shows that total U.S. densified biomass fuel production capacity reached 12.64 million tons in October, including 2.43 million tons of capacity in the East, 9.37 million tons of capacity in the South and 840,020 tons of capacity in the West. Nearly 12 million tons of capacity was listed as currently operating or temporarily not in operation. An additional 498,700 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 340,000-ton-per-year plant in Georgia under development by Blue Sky Biomass Georgia LLC, a 120,000-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.