REASONS TO USE WOOD BRIQUETTES

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REASONS TO USE WOOD BRIQUETTES

In Europe, briquettes have long been a widely used fuel. Briquettes have finally emerged as a competitive option to power your operation because they are small, simple to make, and even simpler to utilize. Many North American businesses are just now realizing the many advantages of making and using wood briquettes.

The trash and recycled scrap from industries like woodworking facilities and lumber mills are used to make wood briquettes. Briquetted wood, which is made of various byproducts like sawdust, chips, and shredded scraps, converts waste into a fuel source and saves on storage and transportation costs.

In addition to coal, briquettes are a carbon-neutral fuel source that uses a lot less energy and is far more sustainable. They can even be used for personal usage in campsites and grills for cooking because they are made utilizing hydraulic force rather than any chemicals.

The heat produced by briquettes consistently outperforms that of cord wood. Wood briquettes produce less buildup in the chimney and flue than cord wood since their moisture content is typically less than 10%. In comparison to coal or wood, wood briquettes also offer a cleaner burn.

Additionally, the production process is simple to incorporate into already in place waste management systems. Just add wood waste to the hopper and turn the machine on. Operating the briquetter requires very little daily upkeep or supervision.

Do the byproducts of your manufacturing process include biomass? Why not utilize it? In addition to being able to burn wood briquettes in furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, and woodstoves, you can also sell any extra on the open market. You may turn your waste into a whole revenue stream by briquetting it.

Do you want to know how your wood waste might become briquettes or how your facility may profit from improving waste management? Get started by getting in touch with us right away!

Is North America seeing an increase in biomass power production?

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Is North America seeing an increase in biomass power production?

Although biomass power generation has seen significant growth worldwide, particularly in Europe and some regions of Asia, North America has not experienced much local development.

In the US, the amount of energy produced from wood and fuels derived from it has decreased since 2018. This increased in 2021 as compared to 2020 by 2.7%. Nevertheless, despite this encouraging increase, it still represented less than 1% of the entire net electricity generation. Similar to the United States, just a small portion of the nation’s energy is produced by biomass. In contrast, 12% of the electricity in the UK in 2020 came from biomass.

The lack of support for policy is the major challenge we face in North America. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 increases the 10-year tax credit period for biomass power. This can boost the performance of new investments. The region’s increase in biomass power generation will be minimal unless significant modifications are made.

How much wood pellet production capacity is there in North America?

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How much wood pellet production capacity is there in North America?

Major producers and exporters of wood pellets include the US and Canada. Over the next years, we anticipate significant capacity additions in both the US and Canada to meet the exponentially increasing demand for wood pellets around the world.

The largest manufacturer of wood pellets in the world, Enviva, based in the US, intends to increase its capacity from 6.2 million tonnes annually to 13 million tonnes annually by 2026. The company is increasing production at its Lucedale, Mississippi, factory to 750,000 tonnes, and it is now building a plant in Epes, Alabama, that will have a capacity of 1.1 million tonnes annually. Additionally, there are plans for five other factories, including one in Bond, Mississippi, as well as additional plant expansions.

By 2030, the capacity of Drax, a UK-based business that makes wood pellets at its North American facilities, will rise from 5 million to 8 million tonnes. Earlier this year, it had just begun operating a 40,000-tonne pellet mill in Arkansas. Additionally, it is building two additional 40,000-ton mills in the US South.

The Renewable Biomass Group is a different pellet manufacturer that is constructing a pellet plant right now. It is working on a project in Adel, Georgia, that will add 450,000 tonnes of capacity annually.

Peak Renewables has a 660,000-tonne capacity in Canada.

How does the world’s interest in wood pellets look like?

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How does the world’s interest in wood pellets look like?

Over the past few years, the demand for wood pellets has increased globally, and we anticipate that this trend will continue. To replace conventional fossil fuels like coal in the production of electricity and heat, wood pellets are largely used for power generation.

The largest market for wood pellets is still Europe, and most of its imports are from American and Canadian producers.

The European Union received about 3 million tonnes of wood pellets from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus in 2021. However, the war has rendered this supply obsolete. As a result, by May of this year, the European Union has increased its imports from the US and Canada by 30% in comparison to 2021.

Additionally, there is a sizable demand for wood pellets in Asia, primarily from Japan and South Korea, though Taiwan is also starting to emerge as a market. In the upcoming years, there may be an increase in demand as other nations explore for alternate fuels for power generation.

There are new markets for pellet demand that are emerging in addition to the usual uses for wood pellets, which are for power generation and heating. One of them comes from the manufacturing of steel and cement, where it is used in industrial applications. Another possibility is to create biofuels using them. In the medium to long term, both usages have the potential to develop into growth

German Premium pellets price

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German Premium pellets price

According to data from the German Pellet Institute (Depi), the average cost of a 6t cargo of EN Plus-certified A1-grade wood pellets decreased to €743.81/t ($731.91/t) in October, down €19.95/t from the previous month but up from €248.08/t a year earlier.

Despite the continued high cost of raw materials, the German pellet market has exhibited symptoms of declining demand along with a normalization of prices and delivery dates, according to Depi.

According to Depi managing director Martin Bentele, “the majority of private customers have now filled up on pellets for the winter and the upcoming new systems that are still to come will be supplied in the fourth quarter…supply is secured, but with chip prices staying high.”

Less lumber is required as construction projects are shelved or delayed. Because of this, there is less leftover wood in the sawmill, but it is in high demand and costs a lot.

In October, wood pellet heating was once again competitive with heating oil and retained its pricing edge over natural gas. Heating with wood pellets cost €0.004/kWh less per month, or €0.148/kWh, whereas heating oil cost €0.012/kWh more, or €0.164/kWh. And the price of natural gas for heating increased by €0.025/kWh to €0.201/kWh.

According to location, southern Germany continued to have the lowest pricing for 6t deliveries at €729.03/t, followed by central Germany at €748.31/t and northern and eastern Germany at €784.36/t.

 

French biomass industry warns against RED III

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French biomass industry warns against RED III

The government has received a warning from French forestry and wood sector leaders that the RED III modifications that were approved by the European Parliament on September 14 would be a “economic and ecological aberration.”

According to the bill approved by parliament, primary woody biomass would be subject to a limit and not be eligible for financial support. Additionally, it calls for a “phase-down” of the proportion of fuels made from primary woody biomass that contribute to EU renewable target by 2023.

The French state must “defend the actual and important contribution of energy from woody biomass to the forest economy and sustainable forestry, and not allow our energy and climate aspirations to be condemned,” a group of at least three countries said in a statement.

A group of at least eight business organizations issued a statement saying, “It is imperative that the French state… defend the real and indispensable contribution of energy from woody biomass to the forest economy and sustainable forestry, and not allow our energy and climate ambitions to be condemned.”

The statement said that shutting off access to public funding for energy produced from primary woody biomass and excluding it from the EU’s renewable energy definition would have “severe ramifications” for the whole French economy. According to the collaboration, bioenergy, which includes energy made from primary woody biomass, is crucial for sustainable forest management in order to help trees adapt to climate change and reduce the risk of fire.

The consortium stated that the stringent regulatory framework governing logging in France and the execution of the current RED II guideline demonstrate the “exemplary nature of the French wood energy sector” through very close monitoring and exact criteria for traceability and sustainability. In light of the significant geopolitical instability, it was further stated that energy produced from wood is crucial to our energy independence.

Due to wood energy’s relatively steady and cheap prices in comparison to imported fossil fuels, the statement claimed that abandoning locally produced wood energy would imply increasing our imports of fossil fuels and would have an impact on consumers’ purchasing power and businesses’ ability to compete. 66 percent of primary biomass should be used as a carbon sink rather than being burned, said Pascal Canfin, a member of the European Parliament, at the French Renewable Energies Syndicate’s annual congress on September 29. Wood accounts for 36 percent of all renewable energy produced in France. At the congress, the RED III draft’s position on the French industry was also discussed.

Following negotiations with EU member states, the language voted by the European Parliament on September 14 still needs to be approved into law. EU nations came to an agreement in June reaffirming support for the European Commission’s original July 2021 proposal that member states refrain from promoting the use of high-quality roundwood for energy production “except in well-defined circumstances” and from granting support to the production of energy from “saw logs, veneer logs, stumps and roots.”

This Is How the Global Energy Crisis Ends

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This Is How the Global Energy Crisis Ends

 

IN THE US, filling up your car has become 46 percent more expensive in the last year—though those outside the country can only dream of paying $4.25 for a gallon of gas. In the UK, the average price at the pump is closer to $9.77 a gallon. Austria and Germany are planning to ration natural gas usage in the face of high prices. And on April 1, UK consumers swallowed a 54 percent price increase to heat their homes. Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin has said customers must pay for Russian gas in rubles or face being cut off. In response to recent events, US president Joe Biden has dipped into the country’s strategic petroleum reserve, bringing it to its lowest levels in nearly 30 years. Despite that, a barrel of oil still costs 60 percent more than it did a year ago. Interventions to bring prices down haven’t worked.

Wherever you are and whatever you do, you have almost certainly felt the sting of the global energy crisis. And there’s no end in sight. “We got into this mess long before the Ukraine war,” says Thierry Bros, professor of energy at the Sciences Po university in Paris. “But Putin also helped us get into this mess.” Bros points to Europe’s overdependence on energy giant Gazprom, which the Russian state owns a majority share in, making it impossible to replace all Russian gas overnight. Russia is the world’s second-biggest supplier of natural gas, behind the US, and third-biggest supplier of oil, behind the US and Saudi Arabia. For Adi Ismirovic, a senior research fellow at the UK-based Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, it’s an indication that the world has sleepwalked into the energy crisis by not preparing for the post-fossil-fuel future.

Germany, for instance, is closing several of its nuclear power plants at a time when they still work and are still needed in the European energy mix. Why? Blame politics. As it stands, Ismirovic believes that Europe can survive without Russian oil, which accounts for around 30 percent of supplies for the European Union. But it can’t survive without Russian gas, which makes up 40 percent of gas in the EU. “Without oil, there will be problems, but it can survive,” he says. “But it would really struggle without Russian gas. Lights will probably have to go out next winter.” That’s if Russia decides to halt deliveries—and that remains a big if. But the situation is deteriorating. Putin has said that he will require payment for Russian gas supplies in rubles from April 1 in order to dodge sanctions—a move countries including Germany have described as “blackmail.” The move has raised concerns that supplies could be disrupted.

Faced with ballooning prices and the fallout of Russia’s illegal war, countries are asking other fossil fuel producers to turn on the taps. OPEC, which is often cited as an example of a cartel, organizes and then disburses what accounts to around 40 percent of average annual global demand. The oil trading organization has been asked to increase supplies to make up for any Russian shortfall—or to allow countries to cut Russia out entirely. So far OPEC has refused. On March 31, it said it would increase supplies by 432,000 barrels a day starting in May, an amount far lower than is needed and a less than 2 percent rise on existing production. So why won’t OPEC open up the taps? The reasons may be economic. Ismirovic says high prices mean more money for OPEC countries, many of which are allied to Russia and likely to benefit from the market crunch. (The poor relationship between the US and key OPEC member Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi may also make the organization less likely to act.) “You can’t press cartels to supply more oil because the cartel is there to ensure higher revenues for the cartel members,” says Ismirovic. “They want high prices, not low prices.”

OPEC’s inaction is why Biden has tapped the US strategic petroleum reserve, releasing a million barrels of oil into the market a day. But this seemingly bold move has had little impact. The oil price fell when Biden announced he was taking action, but not significantly—an indication that US strategic oil amounts to little in the larger context. “It’s an easy button to press,” says Ismirovic. “It’s a fundamentally tight market.” And it’s one of our own making.

Political expediency and short-term thinking have kept the world on the brink of an energy crisis for years, with politicians preferring to win voters with eye-catching policies than to implement difficult long-term plans that would change market fundamentals. The global share of gas in primary energy consumption has never been higher at a time when the world is supposedly greenifying its energy supply. Politicians have kept fuel prices low and threatened windfall taxes on energy companies, limiting their ability to invest in alternative solutions, says Ismirovic. Countries have built infrastructure to prop up cheap hydrocarbons, rather than investing in more expensive alternatives that would be beneficial in the long term. The world has dipped its toe into the renewables sector, growing the global share of renewables in electricity generation to 38 percent in 2021, while not fully supporting it fast enough to make up for fossil fuel shortfalls in the case of emergencies. Then the global energy crisis came along to demonstrate how broken things really are.

Politicians the world over are now forced to try alternative methods to stymie energy demand and shrink the supply gap. Ismirovic says the UK government’s recent announcement of an energy price cap for customers is another example of short-term thinking that exacerbates, rather than addresses, the underlying issue with the market. The price cap limits the amount suppliers can charge households even if wholesale prices increase more than the 54 percent mandated rise. Germany and Austria plan to ration gas use in the face of high prices. Rationing has occurred because of fears about the long-term viability of the Russian supply: Germany meets 56 billion cubic meters of its total 102.1 bcm demand using Russian gas, while Austria relies on Russia for 80 percent of its gas demand.

“Markets are the best solution for high prices,” Ismirovic says. “You get what we call ‘demand destruction.’” The state should support those unable to pay through other governmental levers, Ismirovic argues, rather than instigating rationing or price caps. With price-driven demand destruction, users that don’t need to consume energy, such as fertilizer firms that use gas, or individuals who drive cars as an option rather than a necessity, drop out as the prices get too high for them, he says. At the same time, government financial stipends can support households struggling to pay bills. Demand destruction leads to a temporary reduction in the amount of energy we need, which in turn gives the market breathing space to readjust in times of shortage.

And there’s another, impossible-to-ignore factor at play. The world may now need to temporarily postpone its green energy plans, after having overlooked clean energy options when there was plentiful fossil fuel supply. “Renewables can’t do much,” says Bros. Low-carbon sources of energy account for less than 40 percent of global electricity generation—a significant proportion, but not enough to survive on. And renewable energy growth slowed last year, compared to the 10-year average. “What’s not already in production isn’t going to help us in the coming days,” says Bros. His suggestion? Put the climate crisis on hold for the coming months and burn whatever is available now—then, once fossil fuel prices come down, move back into green tech.

Bringing the global energy crisis to an end by swallowing higher prices and undoing years of progress on climate change may seem drastic—but we’re in pretty drastic times. “We are facing a military crisis, an economic crisis, an energy crisis, and the climate crisis,” says Bros. “Let’s solve them in order, otherwise we’re not going to solve anything.” Currently, the urgency of the supply crisis outpaces the rate at which we can build the cleaner, greener infrastructure needed to beat back climate change.

Getting out of the current mess will also require brutal honesty from politicians, who will need to embrace unpopular measures. Governments need to explain that massive investment, far more than has already been earmarked for green alternatives, is needed to secure the future, even if Russia ends its illegal war. Countries will need to “overinvest” to increase spare capacity, while individuals will need to reduce their energy usage. Germany will have to reconsider its approach to nuclear, and other countries will be forced to reconsider their attitude toward fossil fuels.

“I consider myself green,” says Ismirovic, “but I’ve had arguments with uber-green people who say: ‘No more oil, no more gas.’ It doesn’t work like that. We still need some oil and some gas. Pressing companies not to produce has driven supply down.” Mooted windfall taxes are also a no-go, he suggests.

There are no quick fixes for the global energy crisis, Ismirovic argues, but we can use this moment as motivation to unpick the almighty mess that got us here in the first place. “You need these energy companies to solve your problem,” he says. “These guys have to invest for the next 10, 20, or 30 years—even longer, sometimes—to get the sort of energy we need.”

Biomass Power Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report

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Biomass Power Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report

 

Technology Insights

On the basis of technologies, the global market for biomass power has been further categorized into combustion, gasification, and anaerobic digestion. In terms of revenue, the combustion segment dominated the market in 2021 and accounted for the maximum share of more than 88.0% of the global revenue. The trend is expected to continue in the future with the segment registering a steady growth rate over the forecast period. Biomass feedstock is directly combusted in a furnace with air, to convert water into steam. The produced steam is used to drive a steam turbine to generate electricity.

The combustion technology has a non-complex operation and operates at a lesser cost compared to other advanced biomass power technologies. This is expected to drive the demand for combustion technology in the market over other available technologies. Biomass power can be used for power generation, lighting, heating, and cooking gas applications. These factors are expected to boost the growth of the anaerobic digestion technology segment over the forecast period. However, the gasification technology segment is estimated to register the fastest CAGR over the forecast period.

Feedstock Insights

On the basis of feedstock, the global market has been further segmented into solid biofuel, liquid biofuel, and biogas. In terms of revenue, the solid biofuel segment accounted for the maximum revenue share of 85.5% in 2021. The segment will expand further at a steady CAGR retaining its leading position throughout the forecast period. The easy availability and low cost of solid biofuelshave resulted in their higher adoption over liquid biofuels and biogas for power generation applications. On the other hand, the liquid biofuel segment is projected to record the fastest growth rate during the forecast period.

To learn more about this report, request a free sample copy

The biogas segment accounted for the second-largest market share, in terms of revenue, in 2021 owing to its higher calorific value and ability to be produced and utilized in remote areas. The segment is expected to grow at a steady growth rate during the forecast period. Biogas is majorly composed of methane and carbon dioxide, which is produced by the process of anaerobic digestion and it can be also produced through the thermal process of solid biofuel. Biomass power can be utilized for various applications, such as power generation, heating, and cooking.

Regional Insights

Europe was the largest regional market in 2021 and accounted for a revenue share of more than 37.0%. The European Union, in its long-term strategy, has aimed to be carbon-neutral by 2050. This objective is in line with the European Union’s commitments as part of the Paris Agreement. According to the European Green Deal, the European Commission in March 2020 has passed the first-ever European Climate Law to achieve its 2050 climate-neutrality goal. Furthermore, the European Union member countries are required to develop and implement national long-term strategies to achieve their commitments as per the Paris Agreement.

North America also accounted for a significant share of the global market revenue in 2021. The demand for biomass power across North America is primarily driven by the U.S. and Canada. The North America region is majorly dependent on coal for power generation. The recent discovery of shale gas reserves in the region has resulted in gas-based power generation, which is gaining higher growth over coal-based power generation. On the other hand, the market in Asia Pacific is estimated to register the fastest growth rate over the forecast period.

 

Biomass Power Market Report Scope

 

ARE WOOD PELLETS SUSTAINABLE?

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ARE WOOD PELLETS SUSTAINABLE?

 

The question as to whether wood pellets are a sustainable source of heat and power is often raised and one we would like to address here and now.  By evaluating the entire wood pellet production process in stages it is possible to allocate the associated carbon emissions, starting at the beginning with harvest.

Today in the UK the majority of wood for the domestic heating industry still comes from indigenous sources by making use of sawmill waste or rejected forestry crops, those trees that are misshapen, too small or too large. To make biomass viable it needs to be locally sourced, otherwise transportation costs make it uneconomic as an energy source.

Of the UK’s near 3million Ha of forest, nearly 50% of it (1.5M Ha) is managed under the Forest Stewardship Council certification (FSC) ensuring its sustainable management and re planting.  The harvesting of timber in the UK is carried out by machinery, which is powered by diesel power. The FSC in 2014 estimates that the total emissions from harvesting and forwarding to be 0.071 M/t of CO2 per year which equates to 7.9 Kg per tonne of wood harvested.

Once harvested the raw material needs to be transported from the logging site to the pellet processing plant.  Processing the raw timber into pellets will typically produce 0.03kg/CO2e/kWh, however there is still room to reduce these emissions further as we have demonstrated at our Girvan production site by installing an on-site combined heat and power plant, where we have reduced our emissions to 0.011kg/CO2e/kWh.

When calculating the emissions from transportation, there are two journeys that have to be considered; firstly, the movement of feedstocks to production facilities and the second is transportation of the finished product to the end consumer.  We have calculated that an average tonne of feedstock travels 56 km to the production facility and assuming 0.123Kg CO2e/tonne is emitted per kilometre travelled and that three tonnes of feedstock (pellet+fuel) is required to produce one tonne of pellets the emissions for that tonne of pellet equals 20.66 Kg CO2e or 0.0044Kg/Co2e/kWh

The majority of feedstock is transported by road, but here we differ, due to our quay side location we can receive 1000t of raw feedstock in one shipment from around Scotland, one ship delivery equates to approximately 70 truck movements, again reducing embodied carbon.

From the dawn of time man has used wood to cook food and provide warmth, but what has changed over the centuries is how efficient the heat production process has become.  Today’s biomass boilers can operate at over 90% efficiency.

From our analysis of the wood pellet supply chain it is the production process that has the greater influence over the total carbon emissions of the entire supply chain compared to the transportation of raw materials or the finished product.  Where a Combined Heat and Power plant (CHP) is used to provide the heat for the drying of incoming timber there are carbon emissions of 0.01 Kg/CO2e/kWh which is 0.0201 Kg/CO2e/kWh less than a plant that uses gas heated rotary dryers.

Overall, harvesting and transport to the production plant represent only around 20-25% of supply chain emissions. These are likely to remain consistent over time as the economics of the process require the raw material source to be local to the plant.  The location of the forests that are used for timber production will often mean that the factory location will be away from the gas grid, another reason why CHP plants become a viable option. The embryonic nature of end market means that the delivery to the final end user represents a further 25% of the carbon emissions with in the supply chain, which is predominantly to do with the low volumes within the overall market, where delivery distances can be as high as 200 miles per drop.

 

Stage by stage emissions per kWh of heat energy

Direct emissions from typical UK Biomass pellet supply chain KgCO22e/kWh
Harvesting and forwarding (FSC Sourced Forest in UK) 0.0039
Transportation from forest to production facilities (approx. 42 miles) 0.0044
Production based on plant without a CHP 0.0300
Production based on plant with a CHP 0.0110
Transportation from production facility to end user (approx. 200 miles per delivery) 0.0070
Heating efficiency losses assuming boiler is 90% efficient 0.0050
Total Without a CHP plant 0.0504
Total With a CHP plant 0.0304

 

As this typical analysis shows that UK wood pellets can provide an 80-90% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to oil, which, due to locations of the majority of boilers being installed, is the fuel that is replaced, comfortably within DECC’s requirement of a 60% reduction.

The answer to the question posed ‘Are wood pellets sustainable?’ is clearly a yes.

 

VIETNAM WOOD PELLET PRODUCTION AND EXPORT: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ASPECTS

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VIETNAM WOOD PELLET PRODUCTION AND EXPORT: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ASPECTS

Vietnam’s exports of wood pellets

  1. Exports have boomed since 2017:

On average over the past three years, Vietnam has exported about 3 million tons of wood pellets on an annual basis, valued at nearly US$350 million (Figure 1). Export volumes are expected to reach record highs in 2021, with 2.4 million tons, equivalent to US$273 million, already reported in the fi rst 8 months of 2021 alone. In general, export has been on the rise.

 

  1. Impact of COVID 19 on exports:

While a recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam beginning in April 2021 has had a signifi cant impact on Vietnam’s export of wood products to major markets like the U.S. and EU, it has had a much lesser impact on Vietnam’s wood pellets export (Figure 2), primarily because the surge took place mostly in the country’s southern provinces where furniture processing clusters are located, while wood pellet manufacturing takes place primarily in northern provinces.

Figure 1. Vietnam’s export volume and value of pellets, 2013 – August 2021

Figure 2. Vietnam wood pellets export, January – August 2021

 

  1. Export Markets:

South Korea and Japan are Vietnam’s two largest markets for wood pellet exports, accounting for over 90% of total export volume each year. South Korea is by far the main destination for pellets in Asia, although Japan has been rapidly increasing its demand over the past three years. In both countries, government programs (subsidies as well as regulations) have incentivized an increase in the use of wood pellets for renewable energy. The South Korean market for wood pellets has historically been nearly twice as large as Japan’s; however, the stability of Japanese imports is higher and growing more consistently. The South Korean market contains some uncertainty, particularly price volatility.