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  • Wood pellets in Austria - new trends

    Pellets in Austria - new

    Raw Material Potential in Austria

    On average 11.5 million cubic metres of wood are processed in Austrian sawmills per year. Wood waste (mainly sawdust) amounts to 3.5 million cubic metres, of which 2.0 million is used in the particleboard industry, leaving 1.0 million, together with 1.0 million cubic metres of bark for pelletising. An additional 0.5 million cubic metres of dry wood waste comes from the timber industry and joiners. The theoretically retrievable potential is around 10 million cubic metres. Between 600,000 and 1 million tonnes of raw material might be available for pelletising. Waste is also used for internal heating and drying purposes or for other production processes.

    According to an estimate by the Austrian Pellet Association and Umdasch AG, the raw material potential for pelletising and the amount of pellets in the year of 2003 are as follows:

    • dry wood shavings - 200,000 tonnes
    • used already - 100,000 tonnes for briquette production 600,000 tonnes
    • wet saw dust in 1999 - 5,000 tonnes for pellet production

    An estimated 100,000 tonnes of pellets will be sold in 2003, compared with 41,000 tonnes at present (1999) Additionally there is a large amount of thinning waste from forests and small timber that is not used at present. At present, however, high labour costs and low fuel prices work against the economical exploitation of this potential.

    Usage of wood pellets in Austria

    Wood pellets are heated in stoves, boilers for central heating in single-family houses or in small district heating systems ( micro-networks). The most important use is the firing of pellets in central heating systems in single- or two-family houses. The use of pellets to fire central heating systems and stoves is expected to increase, especially in low-energy houses. Their use in district heating systems is of lesser importance since wood chips are cheaper and more readily available. Most pellets used in district heating systems are of poor quality (too much dust) and unusable in small combustion units. For very small district heating systems pellets could be of interest because they take up less space and pellet furnaces are better than wood chip heating and charging systems.

    The following table shows the amount of wood pellets used in different heating systems.

    Table 1: Combustion of wood pellets in different heating systems (1998)

    Heating system

    Amount of pellets [tonnes]



    Wood chip fired plants and smaller district heating systems


    Pellet central heating systems (for single-family houses)


    In the last few years the amount of wood pellets used in automatic heating systems has increased considerably. After a rapid rise in the number of small boilers in the early 1980s and the stagnation caused by very low oil prices, the rate of increase has remained steady with around 1,550 new installations a year. A significant increase occurred in 1996, followed by 2,452 new wood chip and pellet boilers in 1997 and 3,236 units in 1998. This development is due to the marked increase in automatic pellet heating systems 18.

    Pellet market in Austria

    The following table shows the development of the wood pellet market and estimates the trend for the coming years on the basis of discussions with different people involved in wood pellet technology.

    Table 2: Number of pellet heating systems in Austria

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    Views: 5708 Published: 12-05-2011

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    Wood pellets in Austria - new trends


    Pellets in Austria