April 26, 2024

From the Director’s Desk: PFI Is D.C.-Bound, Policy Watch, Act Now on Hotel Rooms for PFI Annual Conference, PFI Member/Pellet Appliances Featured on TV's Designing Spaces

PFI Is D.C.-Bound

Next week a small group of PFI members will execute a fly-in to speak with lawmakers about the organization’s priorities within the Farm Bill and remind them of the value wood pellet manufacturing brings to their respective states. We’re specifically reaching out to members of Senate and House Agriculture committees for maximum impact on our Farm Bill advocacy. Watch for a summary of our discussions and slate of meetings in the next Pellet Wire. I’d like to extend my appreciation to the following members for making some time for the organization and joining us in DC:

Frank Kvietok, Lignetics
Karen Smeltz, Hearth & Home Technologies
Scott Cummings, Barefoot Pellets
John McAdow, Easy Heat Wood Pellets
Pat Curran, Curran Renewable Energy
Stephen Faehner, American Wood Fibers

Our normal DC fly-in pattern has typically had us visiting DC in the fall, pairing it with our fall board meeting. With 2024 being an election year, the fall will find members back in their states and districts campaigning. As such, and considering the importance of our farm bill priorities, this spring presented the best opportunity to speak with our elected representatives this year. A full write-up and summary will be included in the May 10th edition of the Pellet Wire.  

Policy Watch

Last week Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Forest Biomass Emissions Act of 2024 to “require the Environmental Protection Agency to assess the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with forest biomass combustion for electricity when developing relevant rules and regulations and to carry out a study on the impacts of the forest biomass industry, and for other purposes.” The bill is short and vacillates between a narrow look at “forest biomass combustion for electricity” to a more expansive inquiry into facilities “that produce wood pellets from forest biomass, forest biomass facilities, and active forest biomass harvesting areas.” Earlier in the bill forest biomass is explained to mean, among other things, “(ii) wood waste and wood residues generated from sawmill operations” which covers the facilities of every producer-member of the PFI. At first blush and without knowing any of the players involved in writing, supporting, and co-sponsoring this might read like a pro-biomass energy piece of legislation. In the Industry News section of this Pellet Wire, I’ve included a link to an article published in Biomass Magazine just two months ago by William Strauss entitled “Pellet Fuel Essential to Decarbonization Goals”. In it, Dr. Strauss offers to refrain from his ongoing urge to capture MORE of the carbon benefit available via repowering with wood pellets because of their inherent carbon benefit. Very definitely, the organizations offering public support for the “Forest Biomass Emissions Act” are not expecting the federally mandated inquiry to lead to MORE biomass power which is revealing. Bioenergy hangs its hat on its carbon benefit and the policy support that creates demand for industrial wood pellets is absolutely based on the inherent carbon benefit of pellet fuel. The debate now is about the math and where the boundaries are drawn. An early reaction from Carrie Annand at the American Biomass Energy Association states clearly, “Any biomass life cycle assessment should take into account the alternate fate of these fuels. If not used for biomass, these fuels could end up in a landfill releasing methane, which the EPA says is 28 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.” The carbon implications of alternate fates for fiber are just ONE example of the myriad ways that carbon science isn’t as cut and dry or simple as it may be purported to be. Our own “Sustainable from the Beginning” document cites a 2021 Life Cycle Associates study that examined many different wood pellets for heating deployments and compared them to fossil fuel equivalents. All of them showed a reduction in carbon intensity, with some showing as much as a 65% reduction. And how does Sen. Booker suggest the EPA tabulate the carbon benefit of a forest resource that has been growing for over a century? Forest product manufacturers, of both energy and non-energy products, rightly point to the carbon fixing properties of a growing tree and insist that the carbon stockpiled in growing trees gets added to the ledger. Is this the methodology that Sen. Booker will direct the EPA to utilize? Not likely. Sen. Booker introduced this bill already certain of its outcome because he’s certain of the math and carbon parameters he’ll direct the EPA to utilize, and this bill is intended to arrive at a conclusion that is already foregone. For that reason alone, it is worthy of our attention and opposition.

Act Now on Hotel Rooms for PFI Annual Conference

Have I mentioned that this year’s PFI Annual Conference is being held in historic Charleston, South Carolina, a town full to the brim of great food and history? I hope so. PFI will be in Charleston from June 25 through June 27. If you are planning to attend, please take a moment to book your hotel room soon. Our room block is more than 50% subscribed already. To assure yourself of a room at the conference hotel, the lovely Mills House in the heart of historic downtown, please book today!

PFI Member/Pellet Appliances Featured on TV's Designing Spaces

PFI Appliance Manufacturer Member Hearth & Home Technologies recently completed production on a segment airing on Lifetime TV’s “Designing Spaces." The segment features a Wisconsin homeowner deploying a pellet appliance into her cozy basement. Wood pellets, wood pellet appliances, and PFI board member Karen Harman-Smeltz, all get screen time. Read more about the project and watch the segment online.


—Tim Portz
 Executive Director

2024 Annual Conference

Photo of the Week:

Guess the Year: The 2024 PFI Annual Conference Golf Tournament will be held on Wednesday, June 26 at the Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of the Palms, South Carolina. Register today and get a free seat on the bus. Which PFI Conference and which golf course is featured in the picture above?

Photo Source: Tim Portz

Send Us Your Photos! Help us build a collection of photos of our members, their pellet mills, and products! Send images to Tim Portz at [email protected].

Industry News

EIA Monthly Densified Biomass Report

As of January 2024, the monthly data collection included 76 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel. These manufacturers had a total production capacity of 13.17 million tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,404 full-time employees.

View Data

Heating Degree Days Data

Heating Degree Day Data Weekly Summary
Climate Prediction Center-NCEP-NWS-NOAA
Accumulations are from July 1, 2023 to April 20, 2024

View Data

Booker Introduces Forest Biomass Emissions Act of 2024

A bill introduced on April 17 by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and several colleagues aims to require the U.S. EPA to change the way it assesses lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from forest biomass. The American Biomass Energy Association, however, stresses that any lifecycle GHG assessment must accurately account for the alternative fate of biomass fuels. 

Read Article

*text of the bill can be found here.

Beacon of the Biomass World

Industry leaders at the 17th Annual International Biomass Conference and Expo shared highlights from the past year for their respective sectors, discussed policy victories and priorities and cautioned of the potential hurdles ahead. The event was held in Richmond, Virginia, March 4-6. Nearly 950 attendees and 172 exhibitors were registered, hailing from 45 nations, 44 U.S. states and nine Canadian provinces. 

Read Article

Pellet Fuel Essential to Decarbonization Goals

There are many metrics showing that fossil fuel CO2 emissions are causing rapid changes in environmental variables, and the earth’s systems are unable to fully recycle CO2 emitted. Not only has there been steady warming, but in 2023, we may have crossed a tipping point that results in even more rapid change combined with increasing variability (more extreme highs and lows). If the future is going to be what we hope it will be, action is needed now.

Read Article

PFI Career Center

Check out open positions, post your resumé, or post a job.





Fuel Availability

Are you a PFI member, pellet manufacturer, or distributor that has fuel available? Email the PFI Office to have your listing updated or added to the PFI website.

Become a Member

Not a member yet? Learn more about how PFI can work for you and join today!




Join a PFI Committee

Follow PFI on X, and Link with us on LinkedIn!

We’d like to connect and interact with PFI members and anyone else involved in pellet fuels production! 

Here’s how you can help us build our online community:

  1. Follow us on X, and LinkedIn!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and other business associates to follow us.
  3. Email Tim Portz at [email protected] news or other ideas to post on PFI’s social media.

Join a PFI Committee

We welcome and encourage all interested PFI members to get involved in our committees. There are many opportunities to help steer the association. No matter where your expertise and interests lie, we have a committee that will suit you. Help us plan our next conference, shape our policy agenda, lead communications outreach, or grow the PFI Standards Program.

Visit PFI's Committee Page for more information.

Have News to Share in the Pellet Wire?

We would love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! Let us be the first to know about your company's recent developments, and we will share them with the broader pellet fuels industry.

Please consider the Pellet Wire for staff announcements, new hires, promotions, and retirements. 

Please get in touch with Tim Portz via email at [email protected] with information on your company's growth, job openings, or other news.

Pellet Fuels Institute

[email protected]
(206) 209-5277