Upper Austria, location of the European Pellet Conference – the largest annual pellet event worldwide, holds a leading position in biomass heating: 15% of primary energy comes from sustainable biomass, 35% of all dwellings are heated with clean biomass, and there are over 6,000 jobs in the biomass heating industry. Each year over 1 billion Euro are invested in biomass fuels and equipment in Upper Austria. In this region of 1.5 million inhabitants, bioenergy has emerged as an important economic driver and plays a key role in ambitions for achieving the energy transition.
Biomass heating has become a standard solution in the region. Upper Austria has one of the highest densities of small-scale automatic heating systems in the world. Already 61,000 automatic biomass systems supply heat to homes, public buildings and companies: 34,000 pellet and 27,000 wood chip systems. There are also more than 350 biomass district heating plants in operation. A comprehensive policy approach coined “carrot, sticks and tambourines” led to the establishment of a well-developed biomass heating market and supply chain.
The region is home to leading biomass boiler manufacturers. More than 25% of all modern small-scale biomass boilers installed in the EU come from Upper Austrian companies. Several internationally renowned biomass boiler and equipment manufacturers such as Fröling, ÖkoFEN, Hargassner, Guntamatic and Windhager cooperate in the Cleantech-Cluster Energy, managed by the regional energy agency OÖ Energiesparverband. Together, they produce 50,000-60,000 boilers per year, generate an annual turnover of 800 million Euro and employ 3,000 staff. And these numbers keep climbing! In the past 2 years, Cluster partners invested 80 million Euro in infrastructure (i.e., their factories) and increased their workforce by 32%.
In addition, a full-day of technical site visits and a major tradeshow with over 100 pellet-related exhibitors present latest biomass heating technology innovations.