UBC Undergraduate Research

Wood Pellets as a Biofuel : Current Status and their Market Potential Roh, Hee Bum


Awareness of climate change and the likelihood that we will run out of fossil fuels is encouraging the development and use of renewable energy. As wood pellets are a sustainable and renewable energy source, the production of wood pellets is developing and growing rapidly worldwide. Guo, Song, and Buhain (2015) reported that renewable energy currently accounts for only 8% of total global energy consumption, but estimated that it will reach 30% by 2050 if renewable energy is continuously researched and developed. European countries, the US and Canada lead wood pellet production, accounting for over 90% of the global volume. Asia and South America have enourmous potential to contribute to global production and consumption of wood pellets, yet they have produce very small quantities and lack coherent strategies and policies to increase capacity. Experts encouraged the use of wood pellets, because they are easy to handle and use and are generally very safe, cost efficient and environmentally friendly. However, by 2011, only 22 million tonnes of pellets were used for fuel (0.38 EJ), about 1% of the global biomass consumption (55EJ) (WBA, 2014). Therefore, to increase their use and to become a significant global energy source, more study is needed, including how to address environmental and health concerns culminating in global policies, standards and strategies. This essay addresses the current global status and situation of wood pellet markets and analyzes the potential for a global wood pellet market and finds that the market for wood pellet has grown rapidly in the last few decades and will develop significantly with better policies and strategies.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International