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2009 June 29

Wood pellet manufacturing set to take off in Australia

David Landes
An Australian company which recently opened its first wood pellet factory is looking to help from a German equipment maker in its quest to become the world’s largest pellet manufacturer.

Plantation Energy Australia has also signed deals with two major European power companies for the purchase of pellets, giving it a foothold in the growing European market for green energy supplies. The new pellet plant, located near Albany in Western Australia, is capable of producing 125,000 tonnes of pellets a year and is the first plant of its kind to in Australia, the Albany Weekender news website reports. But output is expected to doubled in September when an adjoining facility comes on line. Plantation Energy also has plans to launch 13 more production lines within the next two years, with the pelletizing equipment set to be delivered by Germany’s Amandus Kahl, a leading supplier of industrial machinery and plants. Amandus Kahl director Joachim Behrmann is hopeful about the prospects for Plantation Energy’s lofty goals.“I am optimistic that with plans for (producing) 1.5 million tonnes a year, Plantation Energy will be the biggest producer of pellets in the world,” he told the newspaper.

Behrmann, whose company has been making pelletizing machines for four decades, says the ambitions targets put forward by Plantation Energy are unlike anything he’s ever seen. Western Australia’s state forestry minister Terry Redman, who helped inaugurate Plantation Energy’s first plant, is also bullish expected demand for pellets and about what the company’s efforts may mean for the region. “I find it very difficult to see demand for this product diminishing in any way,” he told the Weekender. Redman hopes that Plantation Energy’s ability to catch the eye of large European power companies will help boost the Australian timber industry’s “green” credentials.

Read the full article here.