How is the Ever Given relevant to the biomass industry? We are so glad you asked!
We often have trouble envisioning the sheer amount of wood chips or pellets required to run a biomass plant because it arrives truck by truck (or boat by boat) and you’ll never see all that wood piled up in one place. But with the world’s attention on the massive Ever Given, piled high with transport containers, we have an opportunity to envision just how much forest wood these plants can consume.
Take for instance RWE’s Amercentrale plant in the Netherlands, a 600 MW electricity, 350 MW district heat coal plant that will soon be 80% fueled with imported wood pellets. The company proudly announced late last year it would be importing 1.5 million tonnes of wood pellets in 2021.
That’s a lot of fuel – what would that look like?
According to Wikipedia, the Ever Given’s deadweight – the weight of the cargo, fuel, ballast water, and other things it carries – is about 200,000 tonnes, and it can carry around 20,000 containers.
So by the measure of weight, the Amercentrale plant will burn wood pellets equivalent to nearly seven Ever Givens per year.
Approaching it another way, this presentation states that a shipping container can carry about 26 tonnes of wood pellets. So if the 20,000 containers on the EverGiven all contained wood pellets, this would be 520,000 tonnes… more weight than the ship can actually carry. However if the ship could carry all that weight, it would take about three Ever Given’s-worth of shipping containers to import the 1.5 million tonnes that the Amercentrale plant will burn.
And by the way… if you’re worried that clearcutting forests to make wood pellets in North America and Estonia is a problem, you can put your mind at rest immediately. Amercentrale’s director Chris Scheerder insists all of RWE’s pellets come from responsible forestry operations in the Baltic States and North America and that “Our operations have nothing to do with the destruction of tropical rainforests.”
Well it’s certainly fantastic to hear that no tropical rainforests were destroyed in Estonia. Just a tremendous relief.