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The European Pellet Conference took place in Wels, Upper Austria, on 6th of April with over 400 participants from more than 50 countries, making it the largest annual pellet event in the world and the meeting place for the international pellet industry. The organiser is OÖ Energiesparverband (Upper Austrian Energy Saving Association) under the management of Gerhard Dell. We asked him:

What was the focus of this year’s pellet conference?

The international conference’s focus was on how we can advance the energy transition and position pellets as a key climate solution by boosting the pellet markets.

What makes pellets the fuel for the energy transition?

Energy is responsible for 75% of greenhouse gas emissions. As a carbon-neutral fuel, pellets are a cornerstone of climate action and the energy transition!

What is the “Fit for 55” package and what role do pellets play as a fuel – especially in the private sector?

“Fit for 55” refers to the European target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. We have to get away from fossil fuels in the area of space heating in particular and pellets are a very good solution for this.

What contribution do pellet stoves specifically make to achieving this goal as individual heating appliances or supplementary heating?

As a climate-neutral fuel, pellets make an important contribution to achieving Upper Austrian, Austrian and European climate targets. Pellet stoves also reduce the load on central heating systems that still run on fossil fuels and can thus reduce fossil fuel consumption.

What international developments are emerging on the pellet market?

Fortunately, pellet production and pellet consumption are increasing worldwide. Developments vary from country to country and from technology to technology. According to Bioenergy Europe, for example, new pellet stoves boomed last year in France and Spain, and there was strong growth in automatic pellet heating systems in Austria, Germany and France.

What are the biggest challenges in the pellet sector at present and in the future?

As in many other industries, the supply chain issue is a challenge, as is securing pellet supply in the long term.

Which projects presented at the conference do you consider particularly innovative and promising?

The various “Made in Upper Austria” pellet heating technologies presented showed that we are the number one pellet country in Europe. Personally, I was also impressed by the work shown by young energy researchers, who show that the future of energy is also in good hands.

Looking back, what were your personal highlights from the pellet conference?

That after the online conferences due to COVID-19, there was once again a very successful live, in-person conference with hundreds of participants from all over the world in Wels and that the conference leader Christiane Egger and the entire team from the energy saving association put on a perfect event in terms of content and organisation.

What topics can we expect at the upcoming conference in March 2023?

The 2023 conference will once again be the meeting place for the international pellets industry and offers the ideal opportunity to find out about cutting-edge bioenergy trends. Leading experts will present markets, strategies, technologies and innovations in the pellet and bioenergy world.

Thank you!

Gerhard Dell
Dr Gerhard Dell is Managing Director of OÖ Energiesparverband and the Energy Commissioner for the province of Upper Austria

About the OÖ Energiesparverband

OÖ Energiesparverband is a province of Upper Austria institution (chairperson LR Markus Achleitner) and acts as a regional energy agency. It is the central contact point for product-independent energy information and promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy, e-mobility and innovative energy technologies with a comprehensive range of services – at private, municipal and company level. In addition to cooperation with energy institutions at home and abroad, the Energiesparverband is also responsible for the management of the Cleantech-Cluster Energie (RIKA is a partner in this company network). It also organises the annual World Sustainable Energy Days in Wels, Upper Austria, including the European Pellet Conference, which has established itself as the largest annual pellet event worldwide. The 2023 World Sustainable Energy Days will take place from 1-3 March 2023 in Wels.

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