Nations around the world are looking for new ways to produce the energy they need without doing more damage to the environment than they have to. As a part of that work, many places are turning to biomass wood pellets. It has been estimated that the demand for these biomass pellets will grow to around five million metric tons in North America by 2025. Between 2012 and 2013, the United States saw the amount of biomass wood pellets they exported double from about 1.6 million short tons to 3.2 million short tons. This is responsible for about 22 trillion British thermal units (BTU). The vast majority of these exports were sent to Europe. That continent received about 98% of the fuel made by biomass pellet machines.
There are a number of benefits to using biomass wood pellets for fuel. Here are a few of them:
1. Using biomass wood pellets is good for the environment.
The use of this kind of fuel produces less in the way of greenhouse gases than other forms of energy producing materials such as coal. When a power plant uses products from the wood pellet mills, the result is a reduction of greenhouse gas production of about 85%. This is compared to what they produce when they use coal to provide power for an area. Part of this reduction is because the biomass pellet mills use techniques that effectively sequester the carbon that is produced.
Most of the wood pellet making machine make use of forest biomass to create the pellets. There are other options for the creation of wood pellets to use to make electricity for an area. Sometimes, pellet manufacturers use agricultural biomass materials to make the pellets. The good news about the use of agricultural biomass is actually better for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon sequestration is made possible by the process of the plant growth itself. This is a very effective way to keep the carbon out of the atmosphere.
When you compare the use of both kinds of biomass wood pellets, forest and agriculture, to other sources of fuel, you can see a greenhouse gas emissions drop by about 34%.
2. Using biomass wood pellets is more cost effective.
Coal plants can be converted to plants that use biomass wood pellets instead of coal. This is a very cost effective way to reuse these plants. The ability to use plants that have already been constructed means that using wood pellets can be a lot cheaper than people realize. One of the most costly parts of any production of fuel is the design and construction of new power plants. The need for a large initial capital investment is eliminated when you just can convert coal plants to the use of wood pellets.
The vast majority of American coal plants are more than 35 years old. They have long since been totally paid off. Moreover, the costs associated with producing biomass wood pellets are a lot less that what it costs to produce other fuels. These are some of the least expensive options when it comes to fuel production and the creation of power. The costs of running a plant that uses the pellets is similar to the costs associated with running a natural gas plant.
3. Using biomass wood pellets is good for job creation.
As more and more countries, cities and localities look to biomass wood pellets to use to produce the power they need, more people are needed to manufacture the pellets. This is a totally new industry that did not exist just a few years ago. Many leaders of business and industry can see the cost efficacy of converting coal plants to be used to burn wood pellets for fuel. Workers are needed to complete these conversions. That is another way jobs are created.
More people are needed to run the plants that use biomass wood pellets. For instance, the typical coal plant employs about 2,500 workers. By contrast, a wood pellet plant of the same size will need at least 3,500 people. All of this makes converting from coal to biomass wood pellets is good for the local economy.
Using biomass wood pellets is good for everyone.