SEATTLE, WA − North American exports of wood pellets to Europe continued to increase in the third quarter of 2012, hitting a record 860,000 tons.

Shipments of the woody biomass also were 70 percent higher compared to the same period a year ago, according to North American Wood Fiber Review, which compiles and publishes pellet trade data. North America's primary pellet-producing regions are the southern United States and British Columbia.  

Projections call for the North American market to continue its growth. In December Drax Biomass announced plans to build two 450,000 tons pellet plants in Louisiana and Mississippi. The two Drax facilities, Amite BioEnergy in Gloster, MS, and Morehouse BioEnergy in Morehouse Parish, LA, are expected to begin full operations in 2014.

According to NAWFR, the three major European pellet import countries are United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium. The group says Italy, Denmark and Sweden receive also import, but on a smaller scale, though that could change for Denmark when its Dong Energy utility switches to woody biomass at three of its plants.

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