ZHITKOVICHI DISTRICT, 6 August (BelTA) – A pellet plant was inaugurated in the Zhitkovichi forestry enterprise in Zhitkovichi District, Gomel Oblast on 6 August, BelTA has learned.
The highly sophisticated plant can make 20,000 tonnes of fuel granules (aka fuel pellets) per annum. Investments in the project have exceeded €5.1 million.
The construction of the pellet plant is one of the steps meant to fulfill the head of state's instruction on fully processing timber resources in the country, Belarusian Forestry Minister Vitaly Drozhzha said. “The implementation of this project and similar ones allows using up low-quality wood and will help clean up Belarusian forests. Any waste wood can be used to make fuel granules,” he remarked.
The new pellet plant will allow Zhitkovichi District to improve a number of social and economic development indicators, Gomel Oblast Governor Gennady Solovei is convinced. As many as 25 new enterprises and manufacturing facilities were opened in Zhitkovichi District in the last 18 months, with 143 jobs created. Export was doubled. Over Br120 million in investments was raised.
Gennady Solovei stressed that the first pellet plant in the system of the Forestry Ministry with the output capacity of 5,300 tonnes per annum was opened in Zhitkovichi District 12 years ago. It makes 20 tonnes of fuel pellets every day and generates revenues to the tune of €50,000 per month.
The construction of the new pellet plant took less than one year. Its output capacity is four times as much as that of the older enterprise. The new pellet plant uses sophisticated equipment. All the workstations are automated. 16 jobs have been created.
“We've already sold 10,000 tonnes of pellets. 95% of the output is exported. Contracts have been signed with Latvian partners. Poland shows a strong interest. Czechia is thinking about logistics. The domestic market is growing,” noted Director of the Zhitkovichi forestry enterprise Mikhail Levkovich.
Such pellet plants have been recently opened in the Pruzhany forestry enterprise, the Klichev forestry enterprise, the Borisov experimental forestry enterprise, the Novogrudok forestry enterprise, and the Zhitkovichi forestry enterprise. A pellet plant will be commissioned in the Mozyr experimental forestry enterprise this month, too. The Forestry Ministry has implemented another project on top of that – in the Kopyl experimental forestry enterprise. The approximate cost of all the projects is Br81 million.
This line of business has a lot of promise due to the high profit margin of this environmentally friendly fuel. The cost of fuel pellets does not depend on changes of prices for fossil fuels and on rising environmental taxes. The world's annual fuel pellet consumption volume exceeds 40 million tonnes. Experts believe that the figure rises by roughly 1.5 million tonnes every year.
The most active consumers are Western Europe countries. Asian countries are among the potential buyers. For instance, Japan has said it intends to increase fuel pellet consumption by ten times by 2030. Municipal heating plants, enterprises, and quite large power plants in Europe use fuel pellets. The environmental friendliness of fuel pellets is ahead of conventional energy resources.
The wood pellet market is rather young – about 20 years. It started developing in the late 1980s – early 1990s when Germany began using processed waste wood as a source of heat energy. The demand is also driven by a rising interest in alternative sources of energy, particularly in European countries where natural fuel resources are in comparatively a short supply. The popularity of green energy rapidly grows across the globe.