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History of Wood Pellets

From year to year, scientists are working to create the “ideal” type of fuel, with the goal of creating a product with good heat dissipation, low cost, and that is very important with minimal environmental damage during the combustion of this type of fuel. One of the few types of solid fuels that meet all these requirements are fuel pellets.

History of Wood Pellets(图1)

Fuel pellets are a solid type of fuel and are a good alternative to coal, gas and oil. Pellets are made from wood waste such as wood chips, sawdust and wood shavings, and agricultural waste is less commonly used.

One of the pioneers in this industry was Dr. Rudolf Gunnerman, who in 1976 invented the pellet boiler and launched the first pellet production. He was from Germany, but after the Second World War he moved to the United States.

In the 1970s, the energy crisis drive people to look for substitutes for fossil fuel. Pellet production in Europe and North America was started. Wood pellet attracted people's attention on that time as it had high quality and could be an alternative for oil.. Wood pellet machines are originally used to make animal feed pellets. With the upgrade of technology, they can process wood materials with high hardness and density. But as soon as the price of oil recovered, the price of wood pellet rose relatively. Since 1981, oil and gas prices in America dropped and wood pellets were not in demand so much. wood pellet had not been produced so much.

■ Sweden become the pioneer of biomass energy in the imd-eighties,owing to developed wood industry, the pursuit of energy independence and the commitment of environmental protection,  and then other European countries picked up the use of pellets for heating and their production. The Europeans were fascinated by the environmental friendliness of pellets, because when burning pellets, the minimum amount of carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, and the heat transfer is 1.5 to 2 times higher than the heat transfer when burning the same amount of firewood.

But wood pellet production has been prosperous again since 90's. Because some countries encouraged to use wood pellet through their policy (green tax, supporting introduction of equipments and public education, etc) as countermeasures against global warming, energy security and rise of oil price。 Under this condition, burning fossil fuel become non-profitable, which creates opportunities for biomass fuels. This can be seen a turning point in the growth of wood pellet application.

With more European countries carries out such policies, Europe become the largest consumer of biomass pellets. Wood pellets can be transported and delivered by trucks, and store in residential areas. Wood pellets are not only used for home heating, but also used in power plant and other industries.

■ As for Japan, introduction of wood pellet was started after the oil crisis as well as Europe and North America. Wood pellet production was industrialized in 1982, and the production had been increasing constantly. There were 30 plants and total wood pellet production amounted to 27,722 tons at the peak. But when oil price went down, wood pellet lost its advantage in price, and as a result of that, it couldn't come to stay widely in general. Pellet burner was technically immature and that seemed as one of the reasons of that wood pellet did not popularize its roots in Japan. 

■ In Russia, the first mention of the enterprises that produced fuel pellets in the mid-nineties the beginning of the two thousandth years. These enterprises worked for export, supplying their products to the market in Europe. According to some reports, in Europe today about 2/3 of private residential buildings that have not reached the gas continue to be heated with fuel pellets.

Nowadays, fuel pellets are in good demand in Russia. According to the data, at the end of the two thousand sixteenth year gasification of the territory of Russia is only 67%, and the cost of installing and connecting boilers operating on pellets is much lower than the equipment operating on gas.

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