Palm kernel shell (PKS) is a by-product of the palm oil industry but is fast becoming an important source of feedstock for biomass energy generation.
Although always traditionally used by palm oil mills as a source of energy, interest from power generators is growing. Given its high energy content (14-20GJ/t) and the fact that it is a waste product, PKS is a relatively cheap source of biomass fuel.
The introduction of subsidy support schemes for biomass use in Japan and South Korea in 2012 hugely increased demand for the fuel. Before its use in Asia, PKS imports from both Africa and Asia had been recorded into Europe for use for power generation. But changes to subsidy schemes and increasing preference for local biomass meant those trade routes have diminshed in recent years and very little is now used for energy production in Europe.
Imports of PKS into Japan and South Korea have risen significantly since the two countries introduced new renewable energy subsidies. In 2020, Japan imported over 2.2Mt of PKS, up from 26kt eight years earlier. South Korea imported over 300kt in 2020, up from less than 5kt in 2012.
Until now the trade of PKS for energy has been opaque and hard to track. Supply has seemed plentiful, but at times perhaps unreliable. Can supply volumes keep pace with the expected demand, and how much PKS is demonstrably sustainable? In this report we have sought to shed new light onto this growing market.
The report covers:
- An introduction to the PKS market, including varieties, market characteristics and specification.
- PKS demand. Country profiles of key markets for PKS in both Europe and Asia and the policy drivers fuelling demand. The outlook for PKS demand in Asia, including forecasts out to 2023.
- PKS supply regions. A breakdown of factors which influence both PKS supply and availability in the key supply countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. Estimates of current PKS production by country and forecasts of Malaysian and Indonesian supply out to 2030.
- PKS costs and prices. PKS cost drivers and analysis of historical price trends. PKS price forecast out to 2030.