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News 20.05.2021

The ENplus® interviews: Rudolf Angeringer from Mayr-Melnhof Holz Holding expects a greater demand for high-quality pellets

In the past couple of months, we have published interviews with representatives of some of our conformity assessment bodies which play a key role in the certification process. Today, we will cross to the other side and will introduce you to a certified producer. It is a pleasure to share with you our conversation with Mr. Rudolf Angeringer.

Mr Angeringer, you are in charge of the pellet sales for a wood industry group with not just one but three certified pellet production sites. Please, tell us more about it.

Mayr-Melnhof Holz Holding AG is one of the largest timber-processing industries in Europe. The group’s headquarters are located in Leoben, where the first sawmill was founded in 1850. The Group is structured in two divisions: sawn timber and timber processing. Three sawmills are located in Leoben (AT), Paskov (CZ) and Efimovski (RU). Timber processing is carried out at four different locations: in Gaishorn (AT), Reuthe (AT), Wismar (DE) and Olsberg (DE). The group of companies draws on more than 170 years of experience in processing the raw material wood, which is sourced exclusively from sustainably managed forests. The Mayr-Melnhof Holz range of products extends from sawn timber to glued laminated timber, special structural components, glued laminated timber ceiling and floor elements, duo/trio beams, solid timber construction elements, cross laminated timber, glulam concrete composite elements and concrete formwork panels and beams. Of course, the product portfolio includes also pellets produced at each of our three sawmill locations.

In timber production, up to 40 % of input comes out as sawdust and wood chips. Part of this is used for the production of wood pellets. Nothing is wasted; we add value in the production process and also make a big impact supporting the European transition away from fossil fuels towards solely renewable energy sources.

Our planned production volume for 2021 is about 300.000 tons of pellets in exclusively ENplus A1 quality for domestic use. Most of them we sell directly to our customers in Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

How did you find out about ENplus® and why did you decide to get certified?

From the beginning, we have been a member of the Austrian pellet association (proPellets Austria). Together with our colleagues in the association, we worked towards the creation of a uniform certification standard to clearly define qualities and make customer decision-making easier.

In your opinion, what is the impact of the certification scheme on the pellet market?

The ENplus® certification scheme provides clear guidelines for producers, for traders and for delivery service providers. All market participants follow the exact same requirements, so the consumer can be sure to get a high-quality product.

A uniform standard is also an advantage for the producers of boilers and pellet stoves. Now they can base their heating systems on a standardised quality.

What are the biggest challenges for a pellet producer committed to providing end-users with a high-quality product?

The basic requirement in the production of high-quality pellets is the use of good raw material. Fortunately, using our own sawmill by-products - fresh sawdust - we know exactly the origin and the quality of the raw material. Furthermore, we can be sure that we have constant supply and therefore steady and reliable availability for our customers.

In my opinion, it is also an advantage to produce in large-scale factories, as we do, where the quality of the pellets is continuously monitored.

Do you expect even more consumers in Europe to discover the advantages of high-quality pellets and change their heating practices? 

Many consumers already trust these high-quality pellets. The demand for high-quality pellets is sure to increase - markets are growing. However, changing a heating system is quite expensive and in countries where the state provides substantial subsidies, the energy transition goes more quickly. We hope that more countries discover the advantage of biomass use and support people to move away from fossil fuel heating systems.

Why do some still hesitate to switch to using pellets? What would you like to say to those people?

The image of burning pellets causing air pollution is still widespread. This argument is definitely not justified, because modern pellet heating systems operate almost emission-free. We can only recommend a visit to the website of the national pellet association in their country or where reliable information about the use of wood pellets can be found.

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