Friday, June 5, 2015

The Race for Wood on the Rise

Ligna 2015 Branchennews | Wood is becoming an increasingly popular raw material - and not only in the construction sector. More and more private households and municipal authorities are also using wood for heating. All of which is driving competition for this desirable raw material.

2010 marked a turning point for the timber industry. For the first time since World War Two, more wood was being used in Germany to produce energy such as heat and electricity than to create commodities such as construction materials, composite wood products or paper.

The rise in demand for wood fuel was driven on the one hand by increased oil prices and, on the other, by government subsidies aimed at promoting the use of wood as a sustainable fuel. In order to meet demand, pellet imports to Germany are most probably going to rise.

Using wood in cascades results in a number of ecological benefits. First, using wood as a building material and later as a fuel has advantages for the environment.

Lumber is an important, long term carbon sink and so we should be looking to use wood primarily as a building material.

In a scenario where oil prices remain at current levels, 46 per cent of wood in Bavaria is used as fuel. in the event of prices doubling, this proportion would rise to 54 per cent.

At the same time, capacities and production levels for the material utilization of wood in Bavaria would fall - even if the manufacturing industries were to introduce technical innovations or reduce capacity utilization.

More wood products would have to be imported to make up for this shortfall in materials. Alternatively, industries would have to use more  non-wood products.

Source: DIE MESSE - Messejournal - Ligna 2015, Hannover, 11. - 15. Mai 2015