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The Voice of Canada’s growing pellet sector

Raw Materials

In Canada, wood pellets are made from material that would otherwise be wasted. This includes sawmill residues -- sawdust, planer shavings, and sometimes even a little bark -- and diseased and insect-killed trees and logging waste that sawmills have left behind in the forest after logging. In some regions, this also includes under-utilized species or tree segments that are not suited for other applications. Our industry turns this waste into clean, renewable, carbon-neutral solid biofuel. This section includes production and export details.

Raw material storage at Pacific BioEnergy's plant in Prince George, British Columbia

Canadian Wood Pellet Production

As of 2012, Canada had 42 pellet plants with 3 million tonnes annual production capacity. In 2010, Canada's pellet plants operated at about 65% capacity - producing about 1.3 million tonnes per year, while in 2011 almost 1.9 million tonnes of production was exported. For up-to-date wood pellet export stats, click here.

British Columbia accounts for about 65% of Canadian capacity and production, while Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland collectively account for 35% (see a map showing pellet plant locations and volumes here).

Pellet plants in BC tend to be large. An average BC plant produces about 150,000 tonnes annually. Two new BC plants are being built with annual capacity of 400,000 tonnes.

Pellet plants in Eastern Canada tend to be much smaller, based on available fibre supply and different markets. Most have about 50,000 tonnes capacity; the two largest eastern plants produce 100,000 tonnes annually.

Premium Pellet Ltd.'s plant in Vanderhoof, British Columbia

Global Wood Pellet Production

Global wood pellet production has grown rapidly since year 2000, and is currently over 11 million tonnes per year, as seen in the table below taken from the report Lamers, P., M. Junginger, C. Hamelinck and A. Faaij (2012).
"Developments in international solid biofuel trade – an analysis of volumes, policies, and market factors." Accepted for publication in Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews. DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2012.02.027., and used here with permission from the authors.


As seen in that same report, Canadian production continues to be exported overwhelmingly to Europe, with a diminishing supply going to the US, mostly for home heating. Canadian consumption has remained flat for the past decade, although there is increased discussion around using wood pellets as a substitute for coal in power generation.


Industry Links

Industry Links



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Become a Member


WPAC Safety Committee

To find more information about the WPAC Safety Committee and safety resources, please click here

Power Generation


Sustainable power

The vast majority of Canadian wood pellets are made from sawmill residuals - sawdust. The rest are made from the residuals from harvesting operations for sawmills and pulp mills, or low-grade timber from forest industry harvest sites that has no other economic value. Think firewood. Read more...

Breathing easier - pellet emissions vs coal

Sustainability should be top of mind for any company that wants to stay in the game in today’s world.

As important a role as Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions play, we also need to focus on noxious emissions versus coal.


Industry News


  • Mark your calendars! New pellet safety webinar series coming soon

    Safety is the foundation of our pellet industry. Our work around safety never ends; we are constantly striving for new ways to improve safety whether it be the equipment we use or the processes that support good, safe decision making.[…]

  • The role RNG is playing in transitioning Canada toward a carbon-negative future

    The cost to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) is higher than that of conventional natural gas, but a number of factors are helping to reduce the gap. Incentives, regulatory action and innovations introduced by utilities have contributed toward shrinking the[…]


The Pellet Advantage

Efficient and Plentiful Production

Wood Pellet Association of Canada members are world leaders in the design and operation of modern pellet plants.


Innovating our way to a safer, better product

Wood pellets are a safe, reliable modern fuel. But they are still a fuel, requiring care in producing, shipping and storing.


Renewable and sustainable? Energy really can grow on trees.

There is no single energy source capable of solving our dependence on fossil fuels. Instead we need to look to a mix of new fuels, including wood pellets.


Argus Wood Pellet Index

US$ per metric tonneArgus Wood Pellet Index

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