For the second time ever the Swedish Bioenergy Association, SVEBIO, are organizing a world conference on pellets held as part of World Bioenergy at Elmia in Jönköping, Sweden, 30 May - 1 June 2006. The first world conference on pellets was held in Stockholm, Sweden back in 2002.
Sweden is a world leader on the pellets market and 2005 turned out to be an unprecedented record year. And every indication is that 2006 will be even better. Expensive home heating oil together with Swedish home heating conversion subsidies will certainly contribute to this trend. Public buildings, such as churches and schools, with medium sized boilers are also a growth area for pellets usage in Sweden.
Stirling-electricity with pellets
For houses it was those who had solid fuel boilers using for example firewood who switched over to pellets first as it quickly proved to save both time and space, not to mention physical effort. Now it is those who are using oil or electricity for heating that are converting to pellets.
- Looking to the future we are extremely interested in electric power generation using pellets, for instance Stirling engines, and hope to see exhibitors from that sector, says Dr. Johan Vinterbäck, project manager at SVEBIO and organiser of the pellets conference.
Elsewhere on the international pellets scene there is a lot happening. The use of pellets is increasing rapidly in Central and Western Europe, particularly in Austria, Italy and Germany. In Belgium a major power plant has recently converted from using coal to pellets. The power company, Electrabel, will reveal the in's and out's of their experience during the pellets conference at Elmia.
In Eastern Europe, where district heating is widely used, there is significant interest in using pellets as it is relatively easy to convert district heating plants to use pellets as a fuel.
Break-through project in China
Dr. Vinterbäck continues to tell about a landmark pellets project that has just started in China. The Chinese government has declared that 50 heat- and power stations are to be built using straw pellets as fuel and that the starting point is the heat and power plants in Sweden to learn about the processes involved.
- We are hoping that the main players for the Chinese project will come to the conference and tell us about their plans. China has serious energy issues but has seen the potential in pellets not least from local and global environmental perspectives, says Dr. Vinterbäck.
Also in Africa there is an emerging interest in pellets. Representatives from the African continent attended the previous World Bioenergy conference in 2004 and insight into the possibilities of electric power generation using pellets is gaining ground.
In recent years a number of pelleting plants have been built in South Africa. These put to good use the mountains of sawdust lying waste from a sizeable forest industry.
- We look forward to welcoming lots of pellet people, from Sweden and from around the world, to Jönköping, concludes Dr. Vinterbäck.