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Russia to begin supplying Asian biomass markets

9 Mar 2012, 5.13 pm GMT

Russia to begin supplying Asian biomass markets

London, 9 March (Argus) — Japanese wood products firm Arkaim is constructing a 250,000 t/yr wood pellet plant in the Khabarovsk region of far east Russia.

The plant, which is expected to come on line this year, will exclusively supply Asian markets, according Bioenergy International Russia general director Olga Rakitova. “Asian markets are showing an interest in Russian pellets,” Rakitova said. “There is great biomass potential in Russia.”

Wood residues from Arkaim's wood processing plants at the same site will provide feedstock for the biomass plant. The pellet plant will raise Russian pellet production capacity to more than 2mn t/yr, but actual production is falling short of this.

“In 2011, we expected to produce 2mn t, but the actual figure was closer to 860,000t, up from around 800,000t in 2010,” Rakitova said. “This is due to Vyborgskaya Cellulose, which has now changed its name to VLK, experiencing some start-up problems and not producing at its full 900,000 t/yr capacity.”

Russia has pellet plants in Arkhangelsk, Krasnoyarsk and Tver, which produce about 100,000 t/yr each. A second plant in the Krasnoyarsk region came on line last year and is now producing at around 80,000 t/yr, Rakitova said. “Russia has 23pc of the world's forestry resources, but only a quarter of the needed biomass volumes are currently used.”

Arkaim's plant was originally scheduled to start up in September last year.

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