Wood and other forms of biomass can be pressed into pellets. Due to their low moisture content, regular shape and high density, pellets can be burned very efficiently and are relatively easy to transport. They are often used for heating or electricity generation.
- Wood - Wood pellets are generally produced out of wood waste such as sawdust and shavings. The raw material is dried, mechanically fractioned to size and thereafter extruded under intense pressure into pellets. In the process the raw material is densified approximately 3.7 times (FAO (.doc)). The product produced in Western Canada has a bulk density of approximately 705 kg/m3 and a bulk stowage factor of approximately 52-56 ft3/metric tonne.
- Wood pellets are primarily used as a fuel and have a calorific (heat) value of around 5 MWh/metric tonne (18 GJ/metric tonne) which is approximately half that of fuel oil. In North America the wood pellets are used in wood pellet stoves and fireplaces. In Europe, particularly Scandinavia, the bulk of the pellets produced are used as fuel in central heating stations supplying heat for entire communities or even entire cities.
- A distinctive kind of cultivating energy wood is short rotating harvesting -- the cultivation of types of broad-leaved trees that grow quickly on extensive agricultural areas (poplar, willow, birch, alder, locust, etc). Another key feature of short rotating harvesting is the reextraction from the rootstock after the yield (2-3 years).
- Organic wastes - Wastes still contains huge amounts of energy which can be harnested, for example by burning them in a furnace to provide power. They are a sustainable alternative to using tropical timber for fuel.
- Saulo Seabra da Rocha and Stephan Hungeling from the RWTH in Aachen (Germany) invented "blackballs" made out of organic waste, for example from sugarcane, maize and coffee production which can can be turned into excellent sources of fuel for stoves.
- The Amount Sewage Treatment plant outside Paris (France) makes their solid waste made into pellets which have a calorific value similar to coal and burn well. This can be re-used as an energy source. Currently they sell it to a nearby cement factory who use it to power their furnaces.
- Biomass fuel trade in Europe Summary Report VTTR0350807 by Eija Alakangas, Antti Heikkinen, Terhi Lensu & Pirkko Vesterinen; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Eubionet.com, March 2007. This report examines the trade in solid biofuels in Europe. Currently, biomass pellets are the most traded form of biomass fuel in Europe.
- 29 February-2 March 2012, Wels, Austria: World Sustainable Energy Days 2012 (Themes: biomass, pellets, wood chips)
- 16-18 July 2012, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA: Biomass Trade & Transport Summit 2012 (Themes: biomass, pellets, trade, wood chips)
- 27-31 August 2012, Jyvaskyla, Finland: Forest from Bioenergy Conference (Themes: bioenergy, biomass, forests, pellets, wood)
- 30 August - 1 September 2012, Jamsa, Finland: FinnMETKO Fair (Themes: bioenergy, biomass, forests, wood)
- 2-4 March 2011, Wels, Austria: World Sustainable Energy Days 2011. (Themes: biogas, biomass, combined heat and power, pellets, wood chips)
- 24-27 March 2011, Besançon, France: Salon Bois Energie 2011. (Themes: biomass, forests, pellets, wood)
- 14-15 April 2011, Manchester, New Hampshire, USA: Heating the Northeast With Renewable Biomass. (Themes: biomass, pellets, wood chips, grasses)
- 15 April 2011, Espoo, Finland: EUBIONET III workshop - Bioenergy and forest industry. (Themes: biomass, forests, solid biofuels, transportation, wood pellets)
- 5 May 2011, Cologne, Germany: Pellets for Bioenergy – the market takes off. (Themes: biomass, pellets, sustainability)
- 24-25 May 2011, Leipzig, Germany: IBC LEIPZIG - International Biomass Conference (Themes: biomass, gasification, pellets, wood biofuels)
- 18-20 October 2011, Valladolid, Spain: Expobioenergía 2011 (Themes: biogas, CHP, forests, pellets, sustainability)
- 3-5 August 2010, Tifton, Georgia, USA: Southeast Bionenergy Conference. (Themes: aviation, biomass pellets, cellulosic ethanol, ethanol, second generation biofuels, waste)
- 7-8 September 2010, Stuttgart, Germany: 10th Pellets Industry Forum. (Themes: markets, pellets, policy, technology)
- 7-8 October 2010, Augsburg, Germany: 10th International BBE-conference for wood energy. (Themes: biomass, pellets, wood)
- Single spark sends 10% of UK's renewable energy capacity up in smoke , 28 February 2012 by ClickGreen: "Fire investigators believe a spark from machinery triggered the huge fire that swept through Europe's biggest biomass power plant yesterday."
- "Firefighters spent more than 15 hours tackling the fire at the Tilbury power plant on the banks of the River Thames in Essex...."
- "The fire involved between 4,000 and 6,000 tonnes of wood pellet fuel in storage cells - at least two of the bunkers were destroyed in the fire...."
- "In early 2011, RWE npower was granted the necessary consents from the Environment Agency and Local Planning Authority to convert all three of the power station’s units to generate power from 100% sustainable biomass...."
- "The UK has signed up to achieve a legally binding target of 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates as much as half of that may be generated from biomass, which includes municipal waste, wood pellets and straw...."
- World’s largest wood pellet plant opens in Georgia, 16 May 2011 by BrighterEnergy.org: "Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced the grand opening of Georgia Biomass last week – a $175 million wood pellet production plant in Waycross, in Georgia’s Ware County. The project was announced in January 2010 and is the result of a collaboration between RWE Innogy of Germany and BMC of Sweden that created 85 jobs."
- "The facility is expected to produce 750,000 metric tons of wood coal annually that will be exported to power plants in Europe."
- "RWE is a leading energy production utility in Europe, and will use the wood pellets produced at the Georgia Biomass plant to meet the growing European demand for renewable energy."
- "'The surplus of sustainably cultivated biomass makes Georgia an excellent location for us to produce wood pellets,' emphasized Sam Kang, executive board member of Georgia Biomass."
- USDA Announces Project to Encourage Development of Next-Generation Biofuels, 5 May 2011 press release by USDA Farm Service: "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today the establishment of the first Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) Project Area to promote the production of dedicated feedstocks for bioenergy. This project will help spur the development of next-generation biofuels and is part of Obama Administration efforts to protect Americans from rising gas prices by breaking the nation’s dependence on foreign oil."
- "Comprising 39 contiguous counties in Missouri and Kansas, the first BCAP Project Area proposes the enrollment of up to 50,000 acres for establishing a dedicated energy crop of native grasses and herbaceous plants (forbs) for energy purposes. Producers in the area will plant mixes of perennial native plants, such as switchgrass, for the manufacture of biomass pellet fuels and other biomass products to be used for power and heat generation."
- Plant closure bursts Ga.’s biomass bubble, 15 February 2011 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "The premise, and the promise, were brilliant in their simplicity: Turn tree waste into fuel, help break the Middle Eastern choke hold on America’s economy and bring hundreds of jobs to rural Georgia."
- "What wasn’t there to like?"
- "Plenty, starting with the closing last month of the Range Fuels cellulosic ethanol factory that promised to help make Georgia a national leader in alternative energy production. Then there’s the money — more than $162 million in local, state and federal grants, loans and other subsidies committed to the venture."
- "Over the last six years, Georgia has successfully wooed a variety of companies specializing in biomass — cellulosic ethanol, corn ethanol, biodiesel, wood pellet, wood-to-electricity — with the goal of becoming a renewable energy leader. Many of the companies, though, are no longer in business."
- Family sees hot promise in pellets, 30 April 2007 from the Times Leader. A family company will produce a portable machine to create biomass pellets from switchgrass. The pellets can be used as a substitute for heating oil.
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