Pellets for heating. Illustrative photo.
Prague – Last year, the production volume of wood pellets in the Czech Republic rose by two percent year-on-year to 538,000 tons. Demand rose more significantly in connection with the energy crisis, up to threefold on the domestic market. Along with that, their price also doubled during the year, but now it is falling again. This was told to ČTK by the chairman of the Česká Peleta Cluster, Vladimír Stupavský. According to him, due to the growing interest, manufacturers will fundamentally increase domestic production.
The pellet market according to the cluster, which brings together most of the domestic producers of pellets, briquettes and boilers and stoves for burning them, was affected by the situation on the global energy markets, which rose in price by leaps and bounds last year. According to Stupavský, about 8,000 households purchased a new boiler or pellet stove last year, and thousands more are planning to do so. “Demand for pellets for households cannot even grow at a faster pace, because boiler manufacturers and heating companies have reached the edge of their capacities,” said Stupavský.
According to him, domestic producers coped with the increase in demand despite a slight increase in production, even though the delivery time was extended at the beginning of the heating season. Producers redirected part of their production to the domestic market at the expense of exports. Until last year, only a third of Czech pellets were sold on the domestic market, most went to Germany, Austria or Italy.
Developments in the energy market also affected the prices of pellets, especially in the fall, according to Stupavský, when existing customers ordered up to three times their normal consumption due to the fear that there would be nothing to heat. “Therefore, in September 2022, pellet prices rose to CZK 16 per kilogram, but since October they have been continuously falling at a rate of about one crown per kilogram per month,” he described.
Currently, according to him, pellets are available for under ten crowns per kilogram. A year ago, a kilogram cost around eight crowns. This year, we traditionally expect the lowest prices at the turn of April and May, i.e. after the end of the heating season, added Stupavský. According to cluster data, a customer with an average family home in the Czech Republic consumes around four to five tons of pellets per year.
“The slight year-on-year growth in production capacity last year was mainly due to medium-sized and smaller pellet mills, primarily the producers of Premium Pellets, Waldera, Pila Pasák, Pelety Kunovice and Latop Energy,” said Stupavský.
Number one in terms of production volume According to him, the number of pellets in the Czech Republic last year was a sawmill with a pellet mill of the Pfeifer company, which had already increased its production capacity in the previous two years. In its two pellet mills in Chanovice and Trhanov, Pfeifer produced over 157,000 tons of pellets in 2022. The second largest producer was the Moravian-Silesian Mayr-Melnhof with a volume of 102,000 tons of pellets, and the third place is occupied by Stora Enso with a volume of 67,000 tons of pellets.
Due to the growing interest in alternative fuels, a significant increase in domestic production can be expected, according to Stupavský. According to him, every larger Czech sawmill will soon have its own pellet mill. “Increasing the capacity of a pellet mill or building a new one is not a matter of weeks. We therefore expect a more fundamental increase in the volume of production, which will respond to these revolutionary events, only in the following years,” added Stupavský.