Wood Pellets Continue to Replace Coal in Denmark

Date: 27 January 2014

Danish consumption of wood pellets continues to rise, replacing the use of coal in CHP plants. This reduces carbon emissions from heat and power production because the wood pellets originate from sustainable forestry.

Danish consumption of wood pellets has increased significantly during the past 10-15 years. Today, use of wood pellets in energy production exceeds 1.9 million tonnes, covering roughly 4% of Denmark’s energy supply. The market is well-developed and wood pellets are widely-used, ranging from small kettles and ovens in private homes to large CHP plants.

Five-fold increase since 2001
Consumption of wood pellets has increased five-fold between 2001 and 2012, thus bringing total Danish consumption above 1.9 million tonnes in 2012. Compared to 2010 the rise is largely attributed to increased use in plant production, which in 2012 used approximately 1.3 million tonnes of wood pellets for Danish power plants and heating plants. This has replaced nearly 1 million tonnes of coal and related CO2 emissions. The development is driven by favorable framework conditions in heat pricing, electricity pricing, CO2 quotas and taxes.

Increased imports and stagnating domestic production
Danish production of wood pellets only constitutes about 5% of total supply and there is little indication of a rise in domestic production in the near future. This means that netto import of wood pellets constitutes about 1.8 million tonnes or 95% of Danish consumption.

Quick facts about woody biomass
– In 2012, 52% of Danish district heating was supplied by woody biomass. By 2035, this figure will be 100%.

– North America and Europe will be primary suppliers of woody biomass in the future.

– A number of European energy companies, including DONG Energy, have established the Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) as an industry-based sustainability criteria for prodution of woody biomass.

About the statistics for wood pellets
Data for production, import and consumption of wood pellets are not easily available. FORCE Technology has performed questionnaire surveys on behalf of the Danish Energy Agency to improve documentation for wood pellets.

Source: Danish Energy Agency