Kosovo-made Pellets Meet European Standards

Nov 1, 2017


 

A few years ago, the use of biomass wood pellet for heating was a relatively new concept for many in Kosovo. Today however, demand for pellet and briquette has marked strong growth, as has production, with several companies producing pellet in Kosovo. Nevertheless, the perception that Kosovo-made pellets are of inferior quality has resulted in a higher demand for the imported product.
 
These perceptions however have been deemed unwarranted. Since last year, USAID EMPOWER Private Sector in partnership with Sida - Styrelsen för Internationellt Utvecklingssamarbete completed three rounds of laboratory analyses of pellets produced in Kosovo and the imported brands. The results have shown that generally Kosovo-produced wood pellets perform better than those imported.
 
One of the leading Kosovo producers of wood pellet and briquette is Thes-Ari. The company recently reached a milestone and became the first Kosovo producer to be certified with the international product quality standard ENplus A2. The Austrian Institute for Bioenergy constituted that Thes-ari’s products satisfied tests requirements, and the lab results proved the quality worthy to be certified with the ENplus standard. Thes-ari was estabilished in 2008, initially producing briquette. Foreseeing the benefits and potential of pellet production, the company invested heavily in the latest technology and began pellet production in 2010. Since then, Thes-Ari has been expanding its production and currently has 25 employees working at the production facility in Kllokot. The pellet production is also carried out with the highest European standards, where a well-known Swiss company is engaged as part of a continuous production quality control. The raw wood material used in the production of pellets and briquettes originate from forests. Two of the core ingredients in pellets are sawdust and cutter savings, which are bi-products from the wood-processing industries, including furniture manufacturers. Other main materials for pellet and briquette production are unmerchantable wood, and a third source of raw material that includes fast growing trees and other plants. This way, Thes-Ari not only contributes to the creation of new jobs but also decreases wood waste from other industries.
 
EMPOWER Private Sector in partnership with Sida- Styrelsen för Internationellt Utvecklingssamarbete supported Thes-ari to obtain in-house laboratory equipment for pellet quality analysis, which was a precondition for quality certification, and facilitated the company to obtain the ENplus quality certificate for wood pellet through EBRD. This quality certification proves that Thes-Ari pellets have the highest quality and are safe to use for heating not only in Kosovo and the regional market, but also the EU market, since ENplus certification meets EU standards.
 
The five-year USAID EMPOWER Private Sector project, which is also funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, has been working since July 2014 to stimulate large-scale job creation by elevating the competitiveness of Kosovo firms in the growth-ready sectors of apparel, wood processing, ICT, renewable energy, tourism and metal processing. To date, the project has created over 2,400 new jobs across Kosovo, with plans to create a total of 5,000 new jobs by July 2019.
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