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Market demand in Scotland

More and more homes, businesses and organisations are using are using wood fuel boilers, creating a growing demand for wood in the form of logs, pellets and chips.

Continued growth

Forestry Commission Scotland's (FCS) Woodfuel Demand and Usage in Scotland Report 2013 identified 737,000 oven dry tonnes (odt) of woodfuel used in Scotland in 2012. Between November 2011 and September 1st 2014 there have been 2780 accredited Renewable Heat Incentive installations in Scotland in total (Non-Domestic and Domestic) with a total installed capacity of 1.06GW (This does not take into consideration any projects installed pre July 2009). Rapid growth in the woodfuel market is coupled to an increased demand for both raw material and processed woodfuel.

The chart below shows an increase of approximately 500% in woodfuel usage between 2005 and 2012. By 2016, total wood fuel use is projected to be nearly total wood fuel demand predicted to rise to 1,168,000 odt (odt).  - equivalent to nearly 1.3 million green tonnes of timber-  this the 2011 conversion amend 1.16 m odt tonnes to correlating figure for green tonnes for 2016.

In addition, five wood pellet manufacturing plants together used 158k odt of furnish (wood fines) in 2012, an increase of nearly 100% on the 2011 figure of 80k odt. The total quantity of wood reported to have been used directly or indirectly for woodfuel in 2012 was therefore 895k odt. This figure is forecast to rise to 940k odt in 2013, 1,149k odt in 2014 and 1,328k odt in 2016.

Total Wood Fuel Use - All Industry/Commercial - 2004/05 to 2012 and forecast for 2013 and 2014.

Woofuel Demand and Usage Bar Graph


Fastest growth is small to medium scale users

Large-scale plants are the biggest users of wood fuel, but the fastest growing sector is small to medium scale heat use. 90.5% of existing woodfuel use took place in the major scale plant sectors (each using >10,001 odt/yr).  Of the remainder, 5.1% was used in large plants (1,001 - 10,000 odt/yr) and 4.4% was used in medium/small plants (<1,000 odt/yr).

This market provides renewable heat to over 840 projects across Scotland. These range from domestic installations, small boilers heating offices and workshops to district heating systems and industrial applications. See types of wood fuel users and case studies.

Large volumes of woodfuel are used for electricity generation in electricity only and combined heat and power (CHP) plants. Substantial volumes are also used by the traditional wood processing sector for heat generation.

Demand for different types of woodfuel

This supply is mainly made up of virgin wood fibre and recycled fibre, used for wood chip and logs, with a small market for wood pellets.


Woodfuel Demand and Usage Pie Chart



Available raw material

The estimated volume of raw material in Scotland was estimated by the Woodfuel Task Force in 2011.