Louisiana Wood Pellet Plants Cater To Europe’s Energy Needs

Louisiana, an oil-and-gas state, is half covered by timber, making forest products a big business. Companies including Drax Biomass, Biomass Secure Power and German Pellets GmbH plan to churn out wood pellets from new plants here to meet Europe’s need for electricity and heat provided by renewable fuels. With its trees, waterways and ports, Louisiana […]

Louisiana, an oil-and-gas state, is half covered by timber, making forest products a big business. Companies including Drax Biomass, Biomass Secure Power and German Pellets GmbH plan to churn out wood pellets from new plants here to meet Europe’s need for electricity and heat provided by renewable fuels. With its trees, waterways and ports, Louisiana can help quench a growing pellet thirst without deforesting the state, industry members said last week.

U.S. pellet exports nearly doubled last year to 3.2 million short tons and headed mostly to Europe, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Made from wood shavings, sawdust and chips, these cylindrical nuggets are shipped from the Southern, Southeastern and lower Mid-Atlantic states.

“Some people don’t like the idea of power plants in the U.K. burning American wood,” Buck Vandersteen, executive director of the Louisiana Forestry Association, said last week. “But our industry didn’t ask for this. Demand is driven by policy decisions in Europe.” Those directives will spur the need for at least one million tons of Louisiana pellets annually after similar business was lost when two of the state’s paper mills closed in the last decade, he said. “These plants will use wood that will be mostly thinnings and residues, following the harvest of higher-valued saw timber from sustainably managed forests.”

European nations, particularly the United Kingdom, are using wood pellets to replace coal for electricity generation and heating. Under 2009 legislation, the European Union by 2020 plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels and to expand renewable fuels in its energy usage by 20 percent.

From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-buchanan/louisiana-wood-pellet-pla_b_6245666.html?utm_hp_ref=green

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