Liquidating assets for nursing home

For example, in Denmark, a 360 MW unit of a power station in Aarhus was converted from coal to run on wood pellets, which will supply biomass-based heat to more than 100,000 homes and electricity to about 230,000 homes.81 In the United Kingdom, Drax received European Commission approval to convert a third unit of its coal-fired plant to run on wood pellets.82In both Japan and the Republic of Korea, wood pellet imports rose during the year, reflecting the rapidly increasing use of bioenergy for co-firing with coal in power generation.

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Demand in the industrial sector reached some 13.8 million tonnes in 2016.84 A similar quantity (around 14 million tonnes) of pellets went to heating markets (individual houses and district heating), notably in Italy, Germany and Sweden.85 The wood pellet heating market has grown steadily at a rate of nearly 1 million tonnes per year over a 10-year period.86The United States is the largest exporter of wood pellets.

In 2016, US manufacturers produced approximately 6.9 million tonnes of wood pellets and exported 4.8 million tonnes.87 During the first half of 2016, 85% of exported pellets were sold to the UK Drax plant.88 Canadian exports also rose 47% in 2016 to 2.5 million tonnes.89 Latvia, Europe’s largest producer, exported 1.9 million tonnes mainly to Denmark and the United Kingdom, as well as to Sweden and Italy.90Along with some large-scale plants designed to provide supply chain security to particular users (such as Drax), the pellet industry mostly comprises independent producers and is based around sawmill operations.91 For example, 142 pellet plants are operational in the United States and 58 in Canada.92 However, there are signs of industry consolidation.

In the EU, for example, Graanul (Estonia) was the largest producer in 2016, with 11 pellet plants across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.93The sustainability of bioenergy, and particularly of the large-scale use of pellets derived from wood, continues to be a controversial issue.94 The European Commission, in its proposals for a new Renewable Energy Directive launched in November 2016, stated its intent to reinforce mandatory sustainability criteria for bioenergy by extending the scope to cover solid biomass and biogas for heating and cooling and electricity generation.95 As of 2016, such mandatory criteria applied only to biofuels, although member states can introduce criteria for the heat and electricity sectors, as the United Kingdom and Denmark have done.96The torrefaction of wood enables the production of pellets with a higher energy density and results in a product compatible with systems designed for coal.

Although commercialisation of the technology has been slower than expected, some promising developments occurred in 2016.97 For example, Airex Energy (Canada) started producing torrified pellets at its Bécancour plant in Canada, with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year.98 Finnish company Biopower Oy invested USD 74-84 million (EUR 70-80 million) to build a bio-coalii plant in Mikkeli, Finland that will produce 200,000 tonnes of bio-coal pellets annually and is due to come online in 2017-18.99Liquid biofuel production is concentrated among a small number of large industrial players with dominant market shares.

In the United States, for example, consumption grew nearly six-fold between 20, when biomethane provided the equivalent of 188 million gallons (712 million litres) of ethanol equivalent (15.1 PJ).78 Conversion of biomass to biomethane was stimulated by the 2014 EPA ruling on the RFS2, which increased incentives for biomethane by promoting it to an advanced cellulosic biofuels category.79 As a result of this substantial growth, in 2016 the United States overtook the other significant markets for biomethane in transport – Sweden and Germany – which together consumed an estimated 6.4 PJ of biomethane fuel in transport.80The bioenergy industry includes feedstock suppliers and processors; firms that deliver biomass to end-users; manufacturers and distributors of specialist biomass harvesting, handling and storage equipment; and manufacturers of appliances and hardware components designed to convert biomass to useful energy carriers and energy services.

Industry, with support from academia and governments, also is making progress in bringing new technologies and fuels to the market.

Japan’s imports of wood pellets for direct combustion and for use in co-firing installations has grown rapidly.

The country’s capacity for dedicated biomass plants reached a total of 4 GW in 2016, and generation totalled some 38 TWh, a 5% increase from 2015.42 In the Republic of Korea, generation rose by 44% to 8 TWh, reflecting political efforts to reduce coal use in electricity generation by co-firing with biomass.43 India’s bio-power capacity increased as well, with on-grid capacity up by 164 MW (up 0.3%) to 8.3 GW, and off-grid capacity up by 18.9 MW (up 2%) to 330 MW; generation rose 8% relative to 2015, to 30 TWh.44Brazil is the largest overall consumer of electricity and bio-power in Latin America.

It also can be used at a larger scale to provide heat for institutional and commercial premises and in industry, where it can provide either low-temperature heat for heating and drying applications or high-temperature process heat.

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