Asia has pellet potential, too

By Lisa Gibson | September 08, 2011

With such a strong emphasis on the potential for shipping biomass pellets from the U.S. to Europe, producers should be careful not to overlook Asian markets. With that in mind, the North American Biomass Pellet Export Conference in New Orleans this week featured a presentation dedicated specifically to Korea, where most of Asia’s export potential lies, according to Todd Bush, of Pöyry Management Consulting Inc.

Bush briefly addressed conference attendees while they ate lunch Sept. 8, the first day of the conference, discussing the sometimes overlooked potential for pellets in Asia. He singled out Korea, saying plans are uncertain for Japan after the Fukushima disaster, and China has ample agricultural residues to feed its biomass power plants.

Dedicated biomass power, as well as cofiring with biomass are both incentivized in Korea through renewable energy certificates, he said, calling bioenergy Korea’s “low-hanging fruit.” Pellets, he assured, will be a much larger portion of bioenergy generation in Korea.

Currently, Malaysia, Canada and Chile are supplying biomass pellets to Korea, he said, but demand will grow rapidly. The conference, as its name suggests, was organized by the newly-formed U.S. Industrial Pellet Association and is geared toward highlighting exporting opportunities for U.S. producers, as well as addressing crucial industry issues such as feedstock supply, site selection, logistics, transportation and shipping, biotechnology and sustainability, investment opportunities, product standards and an outlook for the future of the industry. Most speakers addressed already robust European markets, but Bush’s lunchtime keynote address reminded attendees that Asia should not be forgotten in their exporting endeavors.

“Korea is going to become a competitive market,” he said.