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The Solid Biofuel Market Grows Steadily Despite the Pandemic


The Solid Biofuel Market Grows Steadily Despite the Pandemic

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Solid Biofuels – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The solid biofuel market continues to grow steadily. The pandemic generated financial and logistics problems for producers, but this failed to disrupt output, as a result of the consistent demand for long-term supply contracts. The production of wood pellets remains the fastest-developing segment on the solid biofuel market.

Key Trends and Insights

The solid biofuel sector remained stable during the pandemic, buoyed by existing long-term supply contracts. Despite facing disruptions in supply chains, constrained cash flows, and stagnating investment into new projects, solid fuel producers managed to sustain production levels and keep staff working.

The global pellet market grows rapidly with a CAGR of +11.9% a year over the past 8 years, emerging as the fastest-developing segment on the global solid biofuel market. Europe (44.8%) and North America (29.8%) remain major global pellet manufacturers (IndexBox estimates). China indicated the highest rate of production growth (with a CAGR of +31.1%) over the period from 2012 to 2020. Due to asynchronous quarantine measures in countries , the procurement of raw materials (sawdust) was disrupted, which emerged as a crucial issue for pellet manufacturers during the start of the pandemic in early 2020. Along with the ease of lockdowns in the second half of 2020, the supply chains were gradually readjusted.

The global charcoal market continued to expand at an average annual rate of +1.0% over the past 8 years and estimated at 56M tonnes (IndexBox estimates). The highest rate of consumption growth was observed in Africa (CAGR, +2.1%), the leading producer of wood charcoal worldwide (62%): in many low-income African countries, charcoal remains the main fuel available for cooking and daily living requirements.

According to IndexBox, the global solid biofuel market is forecast to reach 129.6M tonnes in the period to 2030 (this includes wood pellets and wood charcoal). The increasing demand for renewable fuels and the shifts towards a circular economy are set to remain the key market drivers. The use of plant residue (rice husks, straw, sugarcane, rapeseed, oil palm, and sugar beet etc.) as a raw material for the production of solid biofuel, is set to become increasingly prominent as a result of the robust crop yield.

Solid Biofuel Consumption by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of solid biofuel consumption in 2020 were the UK (9.4M tonnes), Brazil (6.6M tonnes) and China (5.2M tonnes), together comprising 21% of global consumption. Ethiopia, Nigeria, the U.S., the Netherlands, India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany, Italy, France and Viet Nam lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 32%.

In value terms, the largest solid biofuel markets worldwide were China ($5.4B), Ethiopia ($2.9B) and Brazil ($2.7B), together accounting for 28% of the global market. The UK, India, Nigeria, the U.S., the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Viet Nam lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 26%.

The countries with the highest levels of solid biofuel per capita consumption in 2020 were the Netherlands (170 kg per person), the UK (139 kg per person) and Ethiopia (42 kg per person).

Solid Biofuel Exports by Country

The U.S. was the key exporter of solid biofuels in the world, with the volume of exports amounting to 7.3M tonnes, which was near 27% of total exports in 2020. Canada (2.9M tonnes) occupied an 11% share (based on tonnes) of total exports, which put it in second place, followed by Latvia (7.8%), Russia (6.2%), Denmark (5.4%) and Viet Nam (4.6%). The following exporters – Estonia (1,070K tonnes), Germany (784K tonnes), Poland (681K tonnes), Austria (652K tonnes), Lithuania (616K tonnes), Portugal (616K tonnes) and Indonesia (570K tonnes) – together made up 19% of total exports.

Exports from the U.S. increased at an average annual rate of +18.9% from 2012 to 2020. At the same time, Denmark (+50.4%), Poland (+16.0%), Indonesia (+12.0%), Estonia (+11.7%), Latvia (+11.0%), Russia (+10.6%), Canada (+9.8%), Lithuania (+9.0%), Viet Nam (+8.0%) and Austria (+3.9%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, Denmark emerged as the fastest-growing exporter exported in the world, with a CAGR of +50.4% from 2012-2020. Portugal experienced a relatively flat trend pattern. By contrast, Germany (-1.4%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period.

In value terms, the U.S. ($1B) remains the largest solid biofuel supplier worldwide, comprising 19% of global exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Canada ($408M), with a 7.6% share of global exports. It was followed by Latvia, with a 7.2% share.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

energy exports

U.S. States that Export the Most Energy

The energy economy in the United States has been transformed over the last 15 to 20 years, reducing reliance on some traditional fuel sources while bringing others to the forefront.

The main factors driving this shift have been the increased use of natural gas and renewable energy. The emergence of fracking has reduced the costs of natural gas extraction and led to a boom in domestic production over the past couple of decades. Simultaneously, new innovations in renewable energy sources like solar and wind power have reduced costs and made these alternatives more viable at scale. With the adoption of natural gas and renewables, production and consumption of formerly predominant sources like oil and coal have leveled off or declined.

This transition has also shifted the U.S. political economy around energy. Nationally, political figures have called for U.S. energy independence from imported foreign fuel resources for years, hoping to reduce reliance on other nations in the event of geopolitical conflicts. Because of the U.S.’s increased production of domestic energy sources, the country has made rapid progress toward that goal in recent years.

In 2019, the United States was a net exporter of energy for the first time since 1957, meaning that it produced more energy than it consumed. With a sharp increase in production over the past twenty years, production has begun to catch up with consumption and exports with imports. The nation’s net imports of coal and coke, natural gas, and petroleum have all fallen below zero, leaving only crude oil as a major fuel import—and even imports in that category are showing a decline.

Within the U.S., states have different levels of production and consumption affecting their import and export levels as well. While some states—especially those who produce coal in large numbers—have suffered in the transition between fuels, others have dramatically increased their energy production. As a result, these states are now producing far more energy on a per capita basis than peer states are.

This is particularly true for two of the states at the front of the natural gas boom, Wyoming and North Dakota. These states lead the nation in both total energy production on a per capita basis, a function of both their high levels of production and their low populations.

Interestingly, Wyoming and North Dakota are among the nation’s leaders in per capita energy consumption levels as well. One of the reasons is that extracting and refining fuel is itself an energy-intensive process—which is why some of the other leading states for energy consumption per capita are also major fuel producers, like Alaska and Louisiana.

Despite their high consumption levels, leading states Wyoming and North Dakota nonetheless have the highest net energy exports per capita, followed by other major energy producers like West Virginia, New Mexico, and Alaska. To find these locations, researchers at used data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Annual Report and ranked states based on their net energy exports per capita—calculated as the difference between per capita production and consumption.

Here are the states that export the most energy.

State Rank Net energy exports per capita (million Btu) Total energy production per capita (million Btu) Total energy consumption per capita (million Btu) Net energy exports (trillion Btu) Total energy production (trillion Btu) Total energy consumption (trillion Btu)


Wyoming     1     12,368.3 13,335.4 967.1 7,158.3 7,718.0 559.7
North Dakota     2     4,677.5 5,549.4 871.9 3,564.6 4,229.0 664.4
West Virginia     3     2,200.0 2,661.6 461.6 3,942.7 4,770.0 827.3
New Mexico     4     1,301.0 1,636.8 335.8 2,727.9 3,432.0 704.1
Alaska     5     1,099.3 1,928.8 829.5 804.2 1,411.0 606.8
Oklahoma     6     800.4 1,233.5 433.1 3,167.2 4,881.0 1,713.8
Montana     7     522.5 932.8 410.3 558.5 997.0 438.5
Pennsylvania     8     392.5 702.0 309.5 5,024.8 8,987.0 3,962.2
Colorado     9     370.0 635.9 265.9 2,130.8 3,662.0 1,531.2
Texas     10     206.2 704.3 498.1 5,978.2 20,421.0 14,442.8
United States*     2.7 307.8 305.2 873.0 101,038.0 100,165.0


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on’s website:


OPEI/Harris Poll Reveals Consumers Assume Fuel Safety at the Pump

For the last six years in a row, research has confirmed consumers at the gas pump are simply unaware of exactly what kind of fuel is being purchased, along with the potential risks at hand to small engine products such as snowmobiles, golf cars, and transport motor vehicles, according to findings discovered in a study by Harris Poll and Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

“Higher ethanol blends, like E15, E30, and E85, are illegal to use in most outdoor power equipment and can damage or destroy it, and invalidate manufacturer’s warranties in many cases,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI in response to a recent poll revealing consumers are simply confused when at the pump.

The survey revealed that 61 percent of American consumers assume fuel safety while only 20 percent state they actually notice the ethanol content.

“Unsurprisingly, the latest findings only further reinforce the notion that year-round sales of E15 will needlessly introduce additional confusion into the marketplace,” said National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich. “We need the government to eliminate barriers for boaters to enjoy a day on our nation’s waterways, not create additional risks that jeopardize their safety. We stand ready to work with both lawmakers and the broader industry to identify policy solutions that protect consumers and their families from the dangers of misfuelling.”

The below infographic provided by OPEI outlines tips for consumers to consider when selecting fuel options: