Wood Pellet Boilers – A Brief History

Wood Pellet boilers first came into production in the USA during the oil crisis of the 1970s. With oil prices being so high, many people were looking for alternatives to burning oil, which increased the popularity of wood pellet boilers.

Although it may have seemed like new technology, it’s actually one of the oldest in the world.

Sure, the boilers are safe, modern, and super efficient, but the idea of burning wood for heat is one of the oldest known to man.

Alas, wood pellet boilers of the 1970’s were before their time, and when prices of oil started to go down, so did their popularity. They weren’t efficient enough yet, and the process was still cumbersome. The price of the pellets seemed expensive in comparison, and in many places, people stopped using wood pellet boilers altogether.

That is, until the late 1990’s.

As oil prices started to rise again, and more and more people became worried for the environment, wood pellet boilers started to gain in popularity.

This time around, wood pellets seemed like a much more viable long term option. Their production was much more common, which brought down the prices, while still leaving the environment unharmed.

You may think that because we’re burning wood to heat our homes, that we’re cutting down trees to do so. This is not the case. Wood pellets are created from waste wood, from sawdust, garden cuttings, and much more. Similar to how no one kills the cow for it’s hide, no one cuts down a tree for it’s wood pellets.

Fast forward 15 years, to present day, and wood pellet boilers have come along in leaps and bounds, all across the world.

They’re the perfect solution for anyone looking to lower their carbon emissions, live off the grid, and save money.

Pellets have become increasingly popular in europe, Scandinavia in particular, where they’re mainly used as an alternative to oil-fired heating. They’ve also seen a huge increase of popularity in Austria too, which is leading the market for pellet central heating furnaces, where it is estimated that 2/3 of all new domestic heating furnaces are pellet burners.

Are Wood Pellet Boilers Here to Stay?

Well, lets have a look at some deciding factors of the future of wood pellet boilers.

According to the International Energy Agency, the production of wood pellets in Europe and North America doubled between 2006, and 2010. That’s a total of 14 million tons of wood pellets produced.

In a recent report by the Biomass Energy Resource Center, we find that wood pellet production in America is likely to double again in the next five years. According the the predictions found in that report, the majority of wood pellet production is said to be destined overseas.

Oil prices rose sharply at the end of 2011, and they have remained high. It’s no secret that the world is fast running out of natural heating resources such as gas, oil, and coal. This is forcing their prices up, and forcing consumers to look for alternatives.

As wood pellets can be produced anywhere in the world, their prices aren’t affected by global market prices. The price will likely fluctuate as production costs go up (due to factors such as diesel prices), but wood pellets will remain a viable alternative to gas and oil.

And if you’re still looking to a reason as to why wood pellet boilers are here to stay, there are always the financial implications of the Renewable Heat Incentive, where you can be paid to produce heat from a renewable energy source.

If you would like to know more about wood pellet boilers, please feel free to contact us.