Pellet heating in Germany: pellet burner market trends

Pellet burner market experiences the increased development in the European countries and in Germany in particular. The pellet burner equipment allows an easy transition: from fossil fuel energy consumption to wood pellet heat generation. Pellet burners are gaining popularity in Germany nowadays.

Pellet heating installations in Germany

For the time being, Germany has the largest pellet consumption rates among the EU member-states. For example, yet in 2007 the share of pellet consumption in the country was approximately 151 terawatt hours (TWh). That is the main reason why the popularity of various pellet appliances including pellet burners is steadily growing. Around 25 million m2 of wood in the form of logs, wood chips, briquettes and pellets are used for heating annually. Wood pellet energy provides heat for approximately one in four German households.

Pellet heating market

The most of the units installed in German households are individual fireplaces, but larger systems have been gaining popularity as well: almost every one in four households in Germany uses wood pellet central heating system such as gasification boilers, pellet boilers, wood-cheap heaters and wood pellet burners, which are supposed to provide an easy energy conversion to those who want to use wood pellet heating. However, currently 85 percent of pellet heating systems in Germany are installed in the form of central heating systems while heating installations and appliances in the country in the form of single-room fireplaces and individual fireplaces have only 15 percent market share.

For 2009, wood pellet industry analysts make predictions of the total volume of pellet heating systems in Germany being 140,000. The general forecasts predicted increasing growth rates for large-scale heating systems for heat supply and energy consumption in municipal and commercial buildings (15-100 kW installations). Nowadays, the amount of wood pellet installations in Germany reached the number of 246,000 pellet heating systems with capacity less than 50 kW (including boiler furnaces).

Pellet heating trends in Germany

Basically, three types of pellet-heating installations can be distinguished on the market in Germany nowadays. These are pellet stoves, pellet central heating systems and pellet burners. It should be mentioned that pellet central heating systems are the most commonly used at present, while pellet stoves and pellet burner appliances are rather new developing trends.

As for pellet stoves, they are special heating devices which are designed for installation in the living area. As a rule, pellet stoves are used for the heating of separate individual rooms as well as the whole houses. The main thing about pellet stoves is that they are quite efficient and consume a small amount of energy. There are different types of pellet stoves which differ technically, e.g. pellet stoves heating the air with radiation and convection; so called water pellet stoves with water bags, which are attached to the central heating system and give the majority of warm for the heating of water; tile stoves( built into the floor heating system), fireplace stoves(attached to fireplaces) and built-in automatic stoves, which allow for the automatic feed of wood-burning chamber with wood pellets from the storage tank. Beside automatic pellet stoves, there are also designed firewood-pellet combination water boilers available, which can operate both on pellets and on regular wood logs and are attached to the central heating system.

Pellet heating burners

As far as pellet central heating systems are concerned, the types are as follows: pellet central heating which is designed purely for the burning of pellets; pellet central heating which can burn a small amount of wood in the emergency mode and uses no convection; pellet-firewood combi boilers, which are divided into upper- and lower-firewood ones and have special flanged pellet burners that can be easily converted to burn firewood if needed; under-firewood boilers, which can also operate with alternations and burn both pellets and logs.

So called pellet burners are also becoming more widespread on the market, which are a rather recent tendency. They are designed for fuel-switching in regular oil burners. These appliances allow for the easy transfer from oil to wood pellets so that there is no need to install a new pellet-burning boiler as the old oil-burning one can still be used-it can switch to burning wood pellets. Although pellet burners are of no practical significance on the market in Germany for today, the creation of these new installations means that there is a demand for alternative pellet-burning equipment due to the individual preferences of customers and different heat supply tasks performed by different types of pellet-burning appliances.

Pellet heating in Germany: operation principles

The precise share of pellet burners at the pellet heating market in Germany is still unknown. These installations are an appropriate choice for those energy consumers who have already purchased fossil fuel boilers and want to provide comfort wood pellet energy transition. For today, wood pellet burner market has reached the biggest development on the Scandinavian wood pellet market.

The energy conversion with pellet burner is done by simply replacing the existing oil heating installations with burners. A pellet burner appliance is inserted in place of the oil burner in the existing burner flange, the oil burner standard plug plugged into the pellet burner, the pellet discharge screw in the conversion kit pushed in a prepared reservoir and plugged into the pellet burner. After that the conversion operation is finished.

Pellet heating trends

In a wood-burning boiler, the burner flange in the conversion kit is mounted in the space provided at the boiler site prior to installation of the pellet burner. The further assembling process takes place as in the oil-burning boiler conversion. However, the electrical connection made by a qualified electrician is required.

Basically, one should contact a competent specialist during the planning phase of the proposed boiler plant remodeling. The specialist will in each case consider whether and how the chimney and boiler system must be adapted before the remodeling process.

German pellet heating market forecasts

As far as pellet burner market is concerned, German Biofuel Portal has analyzed the prices at the market. The average price for the pellet burner in Germany is 3000 Euro. The price mostly depends on the functionality of the burner and its capacity. The capacity range begins from small-scale burners of 5-25kW up to large-scale burners of 48kW.

There is no exact information on the pellet burner market share in Germany. But according to analysts, despite the low oil prices and low gas prices, the market of wood pellets will face a steady increase. The biggest development of wood burners can be watched on the Scandinavian wood pellet market. However, the demand for wood pellet burners will only rise in the future as wood pellet energy transition trend is gaining more and more popularity.

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The prices for wood pellets increased by 0,8 per cent in February 2015


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