Economics, applications and standards


At present, pellet market represents one of the most developed biobased sectors in Europe.

In 2014, 23 MMT of pellets have been consumed by EU Member states, and experts are expecting the market to increase to 80 MMT in 2020. 670 pellet plants were operating in 2011, but this number is increasing continually for  strong domestic demand driven by the EC mandates and incentives.

The two biggest producers, consumers and importers of wood pellets are Sweden, Italy and Denmark. Pellets prices are relatively stable, and usually vary between 170 and 200 EUR/ton (bulk delivery, VAT included) according the country considered. Retail prices are higher, in the region of 220-270 EUR/ton.

Energy demand for wood pelleting (including all stages from reception of raw material to packing) is generally comprised in the range of 80 – 150 kWh/t for electricity and around 950 kWh of heat per ton of water to be vaporised. Thus, the exact energy demand depends on the production conditions: initial particle size, moisture content, technology used and plant scale.

Estimated energy demand for pellet production

General production framework

Within this framework, the total energy consumption can be estimated at: 1,140 kWh/t pellets

energy consumption

Source: Obernberger


Pellets can be used in small-scale devices (domestic stoves or boilers), medium scale applications (e.g. district heating) as well as in large-scale CHP or power plants. For more details, report to the “Combustion” section in this site.


Standardisation is a key issue to guarantee the product quality and gain market confidence. To date, only a limited number of European (Austria, Sweden and Germany) have official standards specifically for compacted biomass fuels. In some other countries, quality charts can be voluntarily subscribed by market actors (France, UK). Other countries with vital pellet markets like Denmark and Finland have decided to wait for the completion of the European pellets standard included in the Standard for solid biomass fuels CEN/TC 335. For the precise content of the norms, please refer to the Pellets for Europe webpage.

8,000 operating hours per year
Pellet output: 24,000 tons per year
Power installed: 560 kW
eat demand: 950 kWh/ton vaporized water
Drying raw material from a water content of 55 to 10 wt.% (w.b.)


Pellets are usually stored in closed rooms or silos. By their form, pellets are a pourable fuel which can be transported just like a liquid, such as oil: pellets can be supplied by tank lorry and pumped into the pellet tank by means of a fuel hose. Then, from the fuel tank, they can be automatically fed to a combustion unit by screw or piston charging.

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Sources:, Froling