(示意圖/圖片來源:Pixabay)

人們對生質能源的理解很分歧,有一部分人會認為生質能是代表大型發電廠,而另外有部分人認為生質能指的是平常家裡後院BBQ燒烤。但事實上但全球生質能使用有很大一部分比重是來自於家用或商用木顆粒。經過造粒後的木顆粒比部分處理過的木材或棕櫚殼具有明顯優勢,它的品質均勻一致、便於有效運輸、以及燃燒更為潔淨有效率。

但,什麼是木顆粒?他們通常由廢木材所製成,例如:木屑、森林剩餘資材及各種工業副產品,長度為1-2公分之間,直徑為6-12公厘之間,具備高厚度與低含水量,比其他類型固態生質能可獲得更好的燃燒效率,便於運輸、儲存,由於能量密度,可增加木顆粒在熱能與能源方面的利用性(註1)。但,誰使用這些木顆粒?

美國及加拿大為全球主要木顆粒供應者,但國內使用比例相當低。全球木顆粒市場主要來自歐洲的需求,而美國及加拿大則是為許多歐洲國家供應木顆粒。「全球木顆粒市場,在過去10年,同時在供暖及工業木顆粒都有顯著成長,近4年約以每年10%成長,2012年約1,950萬噸成長至2015年約2,800萬噸。」(註2),儘管燃料來源幾乎相同,但家庭供暖與工業市場木顆粒仍有所不同。

工業

用於熱能及能源之工業木顆粒市場,其產量預期在未來幾年會有大幅成長,「目前(2016年)對工業木顆粒需求估計每年約1,380萬噸,相當於每天運量4萬噸的大型貨輪」,其中86%工業木顆粒運往歐洲,13%運往亞洲,美國則只有1%(註3)。預計到2020年,歐洲木顆粒市場將會進入高原期,若屆時亞洲需求未即時增加,全球市場將可能產生供過於求的現象。

除了美國以外,加拿大也是木顆粒市場主要供應國,其中卑詩省便占了加拿大木顆粒產量65%,2013年加拿大出口近200萬噸木顆粒,占總產量86%,國內銷售量約312,429噸(註4)。美國與加拿大皆擁有豐富的林業資源,而歐盟需求因為政策因素,導致產能過剩的情況,未來將變得較為頻繁。

對亞洲的啟示

木顆粒在工業熱能部門未來成長與獲利仰賴亞洲市場,受限於北美洲產能過剩及歐洲需求減緩下,實際成長唯一機會來自日本、韓國、中國與印度。這些國家對工業木顆粒需求,將大幅影響工業木顆粒市場之發展狀況。燃料稅或其他不鼓勵使用化石燃料之工業政策促進木顆粒產業發展,在區域購買力及政策推行下,未來工業顆粒將會大幅成長。

(責任翻譯:吳周燕)

 


The Wood Pellet Industry: Industrial and Heating Market in North America  Part I

People tend to think of biomass energy as large industrial plants or maybe backyard barbeques, but a large percentage of biomass globally comes in wood pellets for home or commercial use. Pelletizing wood offers obvious benefits over partially processed wood or palm kernel shells. It allows for a uniform consistency, efficient transportation, and cleaner burning.

But, what are wood pellets? Usually they are made from waste timber like sawdust, forest residues, and various industrial byproducts. Ranging in length between 1-2cm and 6-12mm in width, high thickness combined with low moisture allows for high combustion efficiency over other types of solid biomass. Easy transportation, storage, and energy density increase the usefulness of wood pellets for heating and energy. [1] But, who uses these pellets?

The United States and Canada produce a significant amount of the world’s pellet supplies, yet hardly use any pellets domestically. Demand in Europe for wood pellets drives the market globally, with the United States and Canada supplying many EU countries. Global wood pellet markets, both the heating and industrial sectors, have had significant growth in the past decade. Growth rates over the most recent four years of data has been about 10 per cent annually; from about 19.5 million metric tones in 2012 to about 28 million metric tones in 2015.” [2]. Despite an almost identical fuel source, the home heating and industrial markets for pellets remain distinct.

Industrial

The industrial pellet market for heating and energy for production forecasts large growth in the coming years. “Current aggregate demand for industrial pellets is estimated to be about 13.8 million metrics tonnes per year. That is the equivalent of a large bulk carrier ship carrying 40,000 tones about every day.” 86% of industrial pellets go to the EU, with Asia covering 13% and the US a miniscule 1%.[3] With forecasts for the EU pellet market to plateau by 2020, if Asia’s demand doesn’t increase there could be issues for the already over supplied market.

Besides the US, Canada covers the supply side of the pellet markets. British Columbia (BC) alone covers 65% of Canadian pellet capacity. Canada exported almost two million tones of wood pellets in 2013, or 86% of production. Domestic sales were 312,429 tones. [4] As the US and Canada have ample forestry resources and demand from the EU can change based on policy overcapacity remains common.

Lessons for Asia

The industrial heating sector depends critically on Asia for future growth and profitability. Due to the overcapacity in North America and slowing demand from the EU the only chance for real growth rests with Japan, Korea, China, and India. To the extent these countries embrace wood pellets for industrial usage will largely determine the health of the industry. Industrial policies that tax fuels, or otherwise discourage fossil fuels will likely have a healthy effect on the industry. Given the regions capacity for purchasing power and quick policy rollout there could be great growth for industrial pellets in the future.

 

Note

  1. PR-Inside, Global Wood Pellet MarketSet for Rapid Growth And Trend by 2025, available at: here; FMI
  2. Wood Pellet Association of Canada, Global pellet market outlook in 2017, available at: here
  3. HAWKINS WRIGHT, The global outlook for wood pellet markets, available at: here
  4. Wood Pellet Association of Canada, Wood pellet production, available at: here

【延伸閱讀】

北美經驗:木顆粒在工業應用及家庭供暖市場分析(下)
The Wood Pellet Industry: Industrial and Heating Market in North America  Part II

 

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