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Balsa shortages

General discussion on any topic which doesn't have a natural home on any of the other boards.
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Cliff Evans
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Location: Bristol
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Re: Balsa shortages

Post by Cliff Evans »

No Peter, there is not a problem with the system at present.
Laser Cut sailplanes

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Peter Balcombe
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Location: Clevedon, North Somerset, U.K.

Re: Balsa shortages

Post by Peter Balcombe »

John,
Just sent you a PM to check that all is ok in your inbox direction ;)

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Peter Balcombe
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Joined: 18 Mar 2015, 10:13
Location: Clevedon, North Somerset, U.K.

Re: Balsa shortages

Post by Peter Balcombe »

Just found this text in a post on the modelflying forum which make depressing reading for builders:

“The rollout of new wind power projects could be delayed by a shortage of balsa wood.

Better known for its use in model aircraft, table-tennis bats and surfboards, balsa is a key component of many wind turbine blade cores because it is both strong and lightweight. Prices have almost doubled in the past 12 months and suppliers are warning that the balsa shortage threatens a bottleneck in new wind farm developments next year. “Balsa has one of the biggest shortages” among materials used in wind turbines, said Tobias Hahn, chief executive of Diab Group, one of three leading material suppliers for wind turbine blades. The wood is grown almost exclusively in Ecuador, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Producers in the Latin American country have benefited from the shortage, saying prices are likely to keep rising next year.

Wind turbine manufacturers are racing to prepare for a bumper year in 2020, when a surge in newly installed wind capacity is expected in the world’s two biggest economies. Next year “is going to be big for wind power in the US and China”, said Shashi Barla, a wind energy analyst at Wood Mackenzie. The consultancy predicts 75 gigawatts of wind power capacity will be added globally next year, up from 67GW in 2019, and expects a demand spike in China ahead of the lapsing of subsidies in 2021. The plastic material PET has increasingly been used as a substitute for balsa in turbine blades, accounting for about 30 per cent of the market. But a boom in demand on the back of the balsa problems has also created a shortage of PET. PVC is another alternative.

A long and heavy wet season in Ecuador this year has not helped, hampering both the harvesting of the wood and its transportation to Ecuador’s main port of Guayaquil for export. And production is set to take another hit soon when the rainy season begins again. “It’s difficult to see a solution any time in the next two years,” said Ricardo Ortíz, the owner of Lumber Industries, an Ecuadorean balsa producer. Feng Zhao, strategy director at the Global Wind Energy Council, said the balsa shortage would have a “negative impact on global installation”, particularly in China. The potential lack of supplies of the wood, which takes four years from plantation to harvest, comes as the US and China plan to roll out 14.5GW and 29GW of wind power capacity next year respectively, compared with roughly 8GW and 21GW in 2018.

As with other commodities, China’s growing presence has added another layer of complexity to the balsa market. “The problem is that [Ecuador] is full of Chinese intermediaries, who have deep pockets” and outbid each other to procure raw balsa, said Mr Ortíz.”

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ian davis
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Joined: 18 Mar 2015, 12:33
Location: Bishopstoke UK

Re: Balsa shortages

Post by ian davis »

Message from SLEC - Hopefully a little good news in all this misery.

November update balsawood supplies
November 2020

The Situation has moved on from September, we now have a deal with the new management of the PNG mill where we have been buying our Balsa lumber from, prices are up but at a more reasonable percentage. Unfortunately, the first 40ft container is not due to leave Rabaul until December and arriving in the UK late February 2021.

In the last week we have been in talks with an Indonesian mill that has offered AAA quality grade of Balsa. I have ordered a 20ft container of mixed grades and sizes to try. If they stick to their production time, we may see this container towards the end of the year.

Future Supplies

There is a shortage of tree's in PNG this may be due to wind farm production or the re-planting of trees, either way supplies from PNG are to be slow for a while, hopefully the quality from Indonesia will be good enough to fill the gap.


Ian ;)

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Peter Balcombe
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Location: Clevedon, North Somerset, U.K.

Re: Balsa shortages

Post by Peter Balcombe »

John,
PM arrived ok, so all appears to be working.
Peter

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Cliff Evans
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Re: Balsa shortages

Post by Cliff Evans »

Thanks Ian, good news.
Laser Cut sailplanes

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