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North America ramps up pellet production as demand from Europe and Asia grow

A number of wood pellet production plants are due to come online in the US and Canada during the coming years as demand from Europe and Asia looks set to grow.

According to the North American Wood Fiber Review, North America exported almost 1.5 million tonnes of wood pellets to Europe in 2010. Demand here will continue to grow as the 27 member states must source 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The US and Canada are also poised to help fulfil the Asian demand for wood fuel.

The biomass sector in Asia is beginning to surface due to South Korea's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, which aims to increase the amount of energy produced from renewable sources, including woody biomass. The new mandate calls for the nation to consume 5 million tonnes of wood pellets in 10 years time, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020.

And Japan's use of woody biomass is also expected to increase as its nuclear power sector continues to struggle.