The Biomass Trade Center II has conducted a survey regarding the wood fuel prices in 2013, 1st period concerning nine EU countries. The countreis were: Austria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Spain. To ensure better transparency of wood fuel markets in participating countries or regions wood fuel prices are regularly monitored and analysed.
The wood fuel prices were regularly monitored at the beginning and end of each heating season. The following wood fuel categories were included into the comparison analysis:
– firewood with the length of 25, 33, 50 and 100 cm and the moisture content of 20% or 50%,
– wood chips categories P16, P31.5, P45, P63, P100 and moisture content of 20%, 30%, 40% or 55%,
– wood pellets with a moisture content of maximum 10% and different package type (loose /price per ton or in 15 kg or 20 kg bags ),
– wood briquettes with a moisture content of maximum 10% and different package type (loos/ price per ton or in 15 kg or 20 kg bags).
When comparing prices among countries, different VAT values (if included), transport costs (if included in the final price), wood fuel quality classes etc. were considered. The prices included in the analysis refer to retail at the local level.
Prices of wood fuels in selected countries
According to data collected by project partners prices of wood fuels differ among wood fuel types and countries:
Firewood of 25 to 33 cm length and with 20% moisture content varied considerably among countries; the highest prices were recorded in Germany (267,17 €/t) and Ireland (249,70 €/t). However, two to three times lower prices were fund in Croatia (87,50 €/t) and Slovenia (135 €/t), respectively (Figure 1). These large differences can result from different prices of round wood or by different situation at local market. But we have to consider that prices are different also inside the countries and are normally lower at local markets or in the case when logs are directly purchased from forest owner.
Also the prices of wood chips (with 20% or 30 % moisture content and particle size category P45 or P31,5) vary considerably among countries; the lowest prices are in Romania (49,60 €/t) and Croatia (52,50 €/t), the highest in Austria (143 €/t), Germany (137 €/t) and Ireland (136 €/t) (Figure 1). In Greece, production of wood chips is negligible. Compression of wood chips prices can be difficult since they very according to moisture content (M20, M30, and M50), particle size distribution (P16, P31.5, P45, P63, P100) but also by ordered load size or they are negotiated in long term contracts.
Pellets are the product with lowest price differences among the observed countries; the difference among the lowest and highest price is around 50%. It is important to note that pellet prices differ among quantity classes, but also among sold quantity/packaging. The prices of 6mm (loose) pellets very between 276,78 €/t in Greece and 179,80 €/t in Romania. Also briquettes have the highest price in Greece (369,56 €/t) and lowest in Croatia (133,75 €/t).
The prices of wood fuels and fossil fuels can be compared by primary energy prices in €/MWh . Energy value of wood fuel varies mainly according to water content. Therefore, typical commercial moisture content (M %) of wood fuels were considered in our comparison. In all involved countries the prices for MWh are highest in case of heating oil, and lowest for wood chips. However the differences in prices of fossil fuels and wood fuels are differing considerably among countries. E.g. in Romania, Croatia and Italy prices of wood chips are more than five times lower comparing to heating oil. In Germany, Austria and Ireland the differences among fossil fuels and wood fuel prices is not as pronounced as in other countries.
In comparison to second half of 2012 the prices (€/MWh) in first half of 2013 in general increased; In Spain and Slovenia firewood prices went down for around 25% , but in Germany and Romania the prices rose for 28 and 22 % respectively. The highest increase in wood chips prices was observed in Slovenia (20%) and highest decrease in Romania (53 %). Pellet prices reduction was observed just in Slovenia (8%), whereas in other countries the prices of pellets increased (e.g. up to 21% in Germany).
For more information about wood biomass production chains, biomass trade centres or wood fuel quality assurance please visit their web page and contact project partners at: www.biomasstradecentre2.eu.