Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wood Pellet Fuel in Hot Demand in Europe

In Europe, wood pellet fuel is used for residential, commercial, and industrial heating needs. In fact, demand for wood pellets in Europe is exploding.
Wood pellets are used in furnaces as a substitute for heating oil and natural gas. In Austria, for example, it is estimated that two-thirds of all new residential heating furnaces are pellet burners.

State-of-the-art cogeneration technology at the CompacTec facility converts renewable biomass into thermal and electrical energy. The thermal energy is used during manufacturing to dry the pellets while the electricity is sold to the local grid under the German green power program. _Energy-Daily
North America is on a similar trajectory, although several years behind Europe's appetite for wood pellets.
Demand for wood pellets continues to grow in Europe but Keppler admits that the United States has not had the same experience. He attributes the difference to a much larger industrial demand in Europe combined with greater usage of wood pellet-fired furnaces by residential and commercial customers. “In the United States you have a nascent wood pellet industry but given that so much of the United States is served by natural gas and natural gas heating to the home, we have not seen the same adoption here,” Keppler said. Most of the wood pellets produced in the United States are exported overseas. _Biomass
Woody biomass offers a huge new area of energy development, where only minimal technological advancement is required. Bioenergy projects using biomass for CHP are expanding in Europe and North America.

The big advantage for growing bioenergy crops and woody biomass goes to more tropical climates, however, where warmer climates and more constant sunshine can cause biomass to grow several times faster than at higher latitudes. This tropical advantage could serve to bootstrap several third world nations out of perpetual poverty--if only they had leadership enlightened enough to forego corruption and oppressive taxation and regulations. Unfortunately, corruption in the third world is almost universal. We can only hope that such corruption does not overtake the developed world as its populations are overtaken by third world immigrants and third world patterns of populist demagoguery.

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