Besides the well-established use for auxiliary home heating, wood pellets are emerging as an alternative fuel of choice for industrial applications. The multiple applications for pellets is fueling export demand that is likely to grow over the next decade.
Over the last decade, there has been a flurry of new activity in the export segment of North America’s forestry products industry. Prior to this time, the usual activities of both U.S. and Canadian forestry companies had been the harvesting of wood with a concentration on both domestic distribution and the export of measured and cut lumber, logs and wood chips. While the importance of these activities to the wood products industry remains today, a new product has emerged. Wood pellets, long considered an afterthought in the forestry industry, have risen to a level of international importance.
The manufacturing, domestic use and exporting of wood pellets in North America is not new. For years, pellets could be found in homes providing an auxiliary heating source often, supplementing electric or fuel oil heating. This use continues, however, the level of activity surrounding wood pellets now offers new opportunities to the forest industry. The increasing role of wood pellets over the last seven to ten years in combating global warming has been dynamic. As a product considered to be a rising source of not only industrial power but domestic heating, wood pellets can be utilized without the noxious by products of today’s standard industrial power sources.
Not only has the use of wood pellets to heat individual homes increased in importance, they have been proven to reduce or in fact eliminate industrial dependence upon oil and coal as primary power sources. In many countries in Europe, Scandinavia, and the Far East, wood pellets are in fact considered the replacement for the traditional industrial power sources in the generation of both industrial and domestic heating and electricity. Countries actively converting to wood pellets in both domestic and industrial applications include the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Japan, and South Korea…
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