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US woody biomass prices fall

The demand for woody biomass in the US over the past three year has decreased because fossil fuel prices have stayed ‘relatively low’, say a report from Wood Resources International.

In particular, the pacific northwest of the US has the lowest biomass prices, a little lower than the south, although the northeast of the country has the highest prices.

Over the past three years, prices for sawmill byproducts, forest residues and urban wood waste have been falling although it was still higher at the end of 2011 than it was five years prior.

The fall in demand is mainly because of steady fossil fuel prices, especially that of natural gas, which means there has been a reduced demand for other forms of energy.

Because of these falling prices, companies are less likely to switch to renewable energy, which is often more expensive.

In the regions of the US where the most biomass is consumed, price has been about $10-$20 (€6.5-€13) oven dry metric tonne (odmt) higher than mill biomass throughout last year.

Since the beginning of 2010, prices have fallen about 15%-20% in the south of the US and particularly in the south central states, prices have dropped recently because of improved weather conditions.

China has been exporting bark from the pacific northwest but it will not take logs, so all the trees need to be debarked before export. This means biomass supply managers have had to turn away suppliers and prices have fallen about 5%-10%.