market by 2012, said US-based information provider for the global forest products industry.

In its ‘International Woodfiber Report (IWR)’, RISI said the market’s explosive growth is not only due to multi-billion investments from private equity firms and Fortune 500 corporations but is also a result of numerous legislative initiatives including the new Farm Bill.

The IWR identified over 65 new major wood energy projects across North America and notes that there are another 30 to 50 projects ‘in the works’, though not all are expected to break ground.

Cogeneration, which involves burning wood for energy, currently leads wood pellets and ethanol as the most widely reported type of wood-based biomass project, with at least 30 projects already announced and over a dozen already in operation.

The report indicated that there is concern within markets that compete with biomass projects for woodfibre that the supply of raw materials will be able to support both existing markets and the dramatically expanding biomass industry.

The International Woodfiber Report editor Chris Lyddan said: “Right now we are estimating that woodfibre consumed by energy projects will reach 50 million tons per year by 2012 and that figure could grow to between 100 and 200 million tons by 2020.”

“The passage of the Farm Bill, which provides loan guarantees of up to $250 million per project combined with the relative speed of starting up a cogeneration facility, makes it simple to see why this industry will continue to grow at an exponential rate.”

The International Woodfiber Report is a monthly publication that covers woodfibre markets throughout North America and provides the latest news and information on prices, supply and demand, environmental legislation affecting timber rights, and regional as well as global news.

Based in Massachusetts, US, RISI assists clients in the pulp and paper, wood products, timber, tissue, nonwovens, printing and publishing industries to help them make better decisions. It operates offices in Belgium, the US, Brazil, China and Singapore.