Pellet production passed the 3-million-ton mark

Article by Philipp Matzku (adapted for; translated by Eva Guzely) | 05.03.2021 - 10:19
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Germany further strengthened its top position among European pellet producing countries by passing the three-million-ton mark for the first time. The heating market is also seeing a strong upward trend © DEPV

Compared to 2019 (2.82 million t), production increased by nearly 10%. In 2020, pellet consumption amounted to around 2.33 million tons in Germany. As for this year, the German Wood Fuel and Pellets Association (DEPV) expects a moderate increase to 3.3 million tons.

Nearly one fourth of the pellets produced in Germany are filled into bags. According to preliminary data published by the DEPV, the export surplus was around 473,000 tons. In 2020, 97.5% of the pellets were of the highest quality ENplusA1. Sawdust from sawmills is the main raw material (84.9%), while the rest is log wood which is not suitable for cutting in sawmills.

With around 61,850 pellet furnaces sold in Germany, the 2019 result was exceeded by 78.5%. In detail, 20,500 pellet stoves, 40,500 pellet boilers and water-bearing pellet stoves with a power of 50 kW, and 850 CHP boiler systems with a power of more than 50 kW were installed. Thanks to pellet furnaces, a total of around 11.42 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy were made available nationwide which accounted for over 6% of renewable energies in the heating sector (around 180 TWh) or 1% of the total heat consumption in Germany.

As for 2021, the DEPV expects a further growth in sales and an increase in installations of pellet furnaces of around 10% to approximately 70,000 units (2020: 62,000 units), of which one third are expected to be pellet stoves.

For DEPV managing director Martin Bentele, the positive market development is the result of several factors: “It’s a combination of weaker sales in previous years, new attractive conditions for incentives and increasing consumer interest.” According to Bentele, the Efficiency Strategy on Buildings introduced at the beginning of the year is the right step to succeed in the energy transition in the building sector.

On an annual average, heating system operators paid € 237.28 per ton for pellets, which corresponds to 4.75 ct per kWh and was 5.6% less than in 2019. With 4.98 ct per kWh, heating oil was on average 4.8% more expensive in Germany in 2020. Gas cost 6.23 ct per kWh and was thus 31.2% more expensive than pellets.