The Society of American Foresters shared a news storyabout the interface of North American forest products and European markets as relates to wood pellets. There has been significant growth recently that is attributed to the European goal of reducing emissions by 2020. The story reports on the relative environmental impact of pellet vs. natural gas combustion, and when the full life cycle of pellets is compared to natural gas, pellets are cleaner. The story further describes some of the economies of shipping pellets from Vancouver to Europe, and the development of a large pellet mill in Georgia.
On a related front, I did a quick check for pellet mills in NY. There are pellet mills in NY, including one owned by New England Wood Pellet LLC and reported to be the largest in the US, located in Schuyler, NY. The Schulyer, NY plant will be able to produce 100,000 tons per year, about 10% of what Canada shipped to Europe in 2010/11. There is also a pellet mill in western NY and Curran Renewable Energy in Northern New York. Time will tell if these NY pellet makers can grow their share of the European market.
An assortment of biomass/biofuel harvesting pictures below.
(Top, biomass/pulp harvesting in the eastern Adirondacks of NY; bottom - grapple skidder with clutch of low-grade logs)