EIA: 800,000 tons of densified biomass fuel sold in November

By Erin Voegele | March 14, 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 730,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in November, with sales reaching 800,000 metric tons.

The data was released as part of the February edition of EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which includes data for November. 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 November, respondents purchased 1.29 million tons of raw biomass feedstock, produced 730,000 metric tons of densified biomass fuel and sold 800,000 metric tons of densified biomass fuel. Production included 146,968 tons of heating pellets and 578,295 tons of utility pellets.

Domestic sales of densified biomass fuel reached 238,893 tons at an average price of $160.89 per ton. Exports reached 563,710 tons at an average price of $162.33 per ton.

Inventories of premium/standard wood pellets fell to 146,968 tons in November, down from 174,077 tons in October. Inventory of utility wood pellets increased, from 571,430 tons in October to 578,295 tons in November.

Data gathered by the EIA shows that total U.S. densified biomass fuel production capacity reached 12.64 million metric tons in November, 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. Nearly 12 million tons of capacity is listed as currently operating or temporarily not in operation. An additional 498,700 metric 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.