Finland's wood pellet production in 2021 up 13% year-over-year to 365,000 tonnes, the third-highest volume on record; wood pellet imports also up, to a record volume of 196,000 tonnes, with more than half the imports coming from Russia: Luke

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HELSINKI , March 28, 2022 (press release) –

In 2021, a total of 365,000 tonnes of wood pellets were produced in Finland. Their imports were higher than ever before, while their export volume was among the lowest in the history of the statistics. The information is based on the most recent wood pellet statistics of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

According to Tuomas Niinistö, senior statistician at Luke, the production of wood pellets is increasing. Their production totalled 365,000 tonnes in Finland last year, being 13 per cent more than in the previous year and the third highest in the history of the statistics.

In 2021, a record-high volume of 196,000 tonnes of wood pellets was imported into Finland. Imports increased by as much as 80 per cent from the previous year. More than half of the imports came from Russia.

“Wood pellets continued to be exported in small volumes. Only 9,000 tonnes were exported, being the second lowest volume recorded in statistics so far,” Niinistö says.

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In 2021, were Norway and Denmark the most significant export countries, unlike in the previous year when nearly all wood pellets were exported to Sweden. However, high export figures have also been recorded for wood pellets in previous year. For example, the export volume was 227,000 tonnes in 2008, i.e. over 20 times higher than in the previous year.

As a result of record-breaking imports, the domestic consumption of wood pellets (production + imports – exports) increased by 30 per cent to 552,000 tonnes.

Domestic pellets are usually consumed at heat and power plants

Deliveries by domestic pellet producers to their customers (371,000 tonnes) increased by 24 per cent from the previous year. The volume of pellets delivered to heat and power plants, as well as large buildings, reached 310,000 tonnes. In addition, 61,000 tonnes of pellets were delivered to households and farms. Both categories increased by a quarter.

Wood pellets only account for a small part of the use of wood fuels in Finland

“The solid wood fuel used in energy generation mainly consists of forest industry by-products or forest chips. So far, wood pellets have only accounted for a few per cent of the solid wood fuels burned at heating and power plants. Furthermore, wood pellets only covered roughly one per cent of all wood fuels used in small-scale housing. However, the decrease in the use of peat and fossil fuels may explain the increased production and import volumes of wood pellets,” Niinistö says.

Wood pellet production growing steadily in the EU

According to the statistical period started in 2004, the production of wood pellets has been in a steady increase in the EU: according to Bioenergy Europe’s statistics, the volume was 18 million tonnes in 2020.

“Germany was the leading producer of wood pellets in the EU with three million tonnes,” Niinistö says.

The consumption of wood pellets in the EU increased to 19 million tonnes. Italy was the largest consumer of wood pellets in the EU with over three million tonnes. In Europe, the highest volume of wood pellets of more than nine million tonnes was consumed in the UK.

Information about the statistics

Information about wood pellet production and deliveries is collected directly from pellet producers. Information about imports and exports is obtained from the international trade statistics of Finnish Customs.



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