Fresh interest is being shown in the market for black pellets, both torrefied and steam exploded. This development has been supported by the emergence of new biomass markets in Asia and by a maturing of the market in Europe.
In the past, black pellet technologies have struggled to gain a foothold in the market. However, there are now at least seven commercial-scale plants under construction and due to start-up in 2020-2021. A further eight projects are planned or seeking permits. This pipeline of projects amounts to ~2Mt of annual capacity.
To date, matching the limited supply of black pellets with the desired demand from end-users has been a brake on the black pellet industry's development. The new supply, when it comes, could release this brake.
The developers of black pellet technologies can point to the powerful competitive advantages of their refined biomass fuels, including - but not limited to - the logistic cost savings that result from their greater energy density and their ability to be stored outdoors. But developers still face challenges as they seek to carve out a space for themselves in the biomass market.
Nevertheless, there are many opportunities too: as a drop-in coal replacement in utility-scale power generation; as a substitute for fossil fuels in district heat and CHP; as an alternative to white pellets over long, complex and costly supply chains, and as a source of renewable process heat for industry.
This report investigates these challenges and opportunities for biomass fuel suppliers and utilities, as well as for many the ancillary businesses with exposure to the biomass markets, including feedstock owners, equipment suppliers, shipping companies and port operators, financial institutions and other investors.
A detailed table of contents is provided in the report's prospectus that can be downloaded here.
In summary, the contents comprises:
- Executive summary
- A description and comparison of different torrefaction and steam explosion technologies, including process flow diagrams
- The status of black pellet supply, including lists of known projects and company profiles
- The status of black pellet demand for power and heat and for industrial processes in Europe Asia and the rest of the world ncluding lists of known projects and company profiles
- The supply chain economics of black pellet v white pellet supply chains and a discussion of the economic and practical considerations for end-users
- Sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions of torrefied v steam exploded v white pellet supply chains
- An assessment of the challenges and opportunities of facing black pellet project developers and their prospective customers