EIA: Densified biomass fuel sales reach 920,000 tons in December

By Erin Voegele | April 14, 2022

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 870,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in December, with sales reaching 920,000 tons.

The data was released as part of the March edition of EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuels Report, which contains data for December. The EIA collected data from 80 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 80 manufacturers surveyed for December had a total combined production capacity of 12.96 million tons per year and collectively had the equivalent of 2,297 full-time employees.

Respondents purchased 1.68 million tons of raw biomass feedstock in December, produced 870,000 tons of densified biomass fuel and sold 920,000 tons of densified biomass fuel. Production included 145,361 tons of heating pellets and 729,787 tons of utility pellets.

Domestic sales of densified biomass fuel in December reached 144,315 tons at an average price of $199.53 per ton. Exports in December reached 779,122 tons at an average price of $174.28 per ton.

The EIA included a notation in its report indicating that it has revised data for domestic sales, export sales, and prices for both for all months due to a change in characterization of domestic sales as export sales by some respondents. Those revisions resulted in lower domestic sales quantities and higher average prices. They also increased export sales quantities for the year, according to the EIA.

Inventories of premium/standard pellets increased to 185,800 tons in December, up from 163,356 tons in November. Inventories of utility pellets fell to 366,260 tons in December, down from 407,359 tons in November.

Data gathered by the EIA shows that total U.S. densified biomass fuel capacity reached 13.08 million tons in December, with all of that capacity listed as currently operating or temporarily not in operation. Capacity included 1.98 million tons in the East, 10.26 million tons in the South, and 838,000 tons in the West.