With a goal of reducing emissions by 80 percent by 2050, the European Union is relying on the use of renewable energy. What may surprise some is that the EU is counting on biofuels such as wood pellets to help it reach its goal.
The pellets are a byproduct made from the sawdust, bark, chips and other scrap wood generated by tree processing. The pieces are milled, dried and pressed into a pellet shape, and the lignin in the wood plasticizes to form natural glue that allows a pellet to remain in one piece. Used to produce electricity in numerous European countries, the pellets are used at a rate that accounts for a 47 percent increase in demand for pellet fuel in the U.K. over last year, according to the Institute for Energy Research.
All of this is beneficial to the 184 wood-pellet manufacturers in the United States, which has become the world’s largest exporter. Industrial thermal processing equipment plays an essential role in creating the pellets.