Uranium One, a subsidiary of Russia’s nuclear power authority Rosatom, has made its first shipment of 3,000 tonnes of wood pellets to Italy. The second shipment is due to be delivered in December.
Rosatom is actively developing low-carbon energy and supplies of pellets as biofuel are one of the most promising sectors of its activity in the sector. Production of pellets involves the use of sawdust, woodchips, small tree trunks and branches.
Wood pellet biofuel is considered a renewable energy source and its use is seen as a “green” replacement for coal. According to research by Illinois University, the level of direct CO2 emissions when using biofuels is 79-85 % less than those associated with the burning of coal.
The production of biofuels involves the use of waste products from the logging and woodworking industries rather than valuable and expensive wood.
Uranium One was granted international certificates in 2019 allowing it to sell biofuel on European markets and its first shipments of pellets went to Finland and Britain. Orders began to increase this year and as of now, it has secured contracts worth more than 5 million euros. Orders to be filled in 2021 have already totalled 60,000 tonnes.
The Italian biofuel market is one of the most promising. Some 1 million boilers in private dwellings are now using Russian wood-based biomass – five times more than in Germany.
“Our strategy is to develop low-carbon energy. In addition to nuclear power, we invest in low-carbon and renewable energy sources like wind power,” said Rosatom Chief Executive Alexey Likachev. “In this context, bioenergy – a part of low-carbon energy – is a logical new branch of business.”