EIA: Densified biomass fuel sales reach 670,000 tons in May

By Erin Voegele | September 11, 2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 750,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in May, with sales reaching 670,000 tons.

The data was released as part of the August edition of EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuels Report, which contains data for May. The EIA collected data from 84 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel to complete the report. The report does not include data on facilities with annual production capacities of less than 10,000 tons. Those smaller facilities report data annually rather than monthly.

The 84 manufacturers surveyed for May had a total combined production capacity of 11.85 million tons per year and collectively had the equivalent of 2,203 full-time employees.

Respondents purchased 1.31 million tons of raw biomass feedstock in May, produced 750,000 tons of densified biomass fuel and sold 670,000 tons of densified biomass fuel. Production included 143,796 tons of heating pellets and 608,837 tons of utility pellets.

Domestic sales of densified biomass fuel in May reached 142,761 tons at an average price of $165.31 per ton. Exports in May reached 525,716 tons at an average price of $166.38 per ton.

Inventories of premium/standard pellets increased to 199,474 tons in May, up from 168,431 tons in April. Inventories of utility pellets increased from 354,685 tons in April to 361,647 tons in May.

Data gathered by the EIA shows that total U.S. densified biomass fuel capacity reached 12.02 million tons in May, with 12.01 million tons of that capacity listed as currently operating or temporarily not in operation. Capacity included 2.19 million tons in the East, 9.01 million tons in the South, and 814,820 tons in the West. One plant was reported as planned or under construction. That facility is under development by Mt. Taylor WoodYouRecycle in New Mexico and is expected to have an annual capacity of 1,700 tons.