Despite the corona crisis, in the first half of 2020, Germany produced 1.502 million tonnes of wood pellets, thus breaking a new record.
The German Energy Wood and Pellet Association eV (DEPV) justifies this with the increasing demand for climate-friendly fuel in Germany and abroad paired with a very good raw material base. The German pellet producers reacted to this by expanding and building new plants, especially in the forested low mountain regions. Compared to the same period in the previous year (1.329 million t), the growth was increased again by 173,000 t (13 percent).
The pellets produced in Germany are in a proportion of 96.6 percent EN plus A1 certified. Softwood is the main raw material (97.6 percent). The proportion of residual sawn timber (85.8 percent) as the preferred starting material for German pellet producers has decreased slightly compared to previous years, which is due to the high volume of damaged wood. Pellet production is particularly interesting for forestry because it creates a new outlet for damaged wood.
“Finally, the large CO2-saving potential of pellets is increasingly being used,” says Martin Bentele, Managing Director of the industry association DEPV. “Due to the new state subsidy of up to 45 percent, significantly more homeowners, but also commercial enterprises, have been actively tackling the heating exchange since this year. This can already be clearly seen in the number of initial fillings, to which the pellet producers in this country reacted promptly. These framework conditions will enable the number of pellet furnaces to double to 1 million by 2030 and ensure that they are safely supplied with domestic pellets. ”
The boiler manufacturers report sales increases for pellet heating systems of approx. 150 percent in the first half of 2020. In addition to the high subsidies, the CO2 price for fossil fuels that will start next year and the 2026 ban on oil heating are reasons for the increased demand. Bentele expects that both the sales of furnaces and the production volume at the end of the year will be exceeded. “The annual production could be over 3 million tons, which would be a strong signal for climate protection in the heating sector.”
In this context, the DEPV also anticipates a declining export quota in the medium term. The export quota was 16.4 percent in the first half of 2020, which is due to demand from neighboring countries. The price for pellets was stable and low in the first half of the year with an average price of EUR 247.41 / t.