January 19, 2018

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Low Energy Prices Force New England Wood Heat Pioneers to Pivot 

Marcus Kauffman, biomass resource specialist for the Oregon Department of Forestry, is writing a series of articles exploring the various markets, uses and benefits of low value wood. His piece on wood heating, published this week on the forestry journalism website Treesource.com, looks at the ways that the industry promotes biomass and pellet heating in New England: and how those messages have had to evolve with changing fuel markets. Below is an excerpt, but please visit Treesource to view the full article.

It was May of 2014, and Charlie Niebling was feeling pretty good. As the wood buyer for New England Wood Pellets and a modern wood heat pioneer, he had reason to be optimistic. New England's automated wood heat industry was finally beginning to hum.

For years, high energy prices were the driving force behind adoption of residential pellets stoves, spurring investment in wood pellet manufacturing and, concurrently, leading to the installation of hundreds of commercial wood-fired heating systems across Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

"By 2014 with the return of $4-a-gallon heating oil and expensive propane, despite the declining price of natural gas, we had a solid core of wood heat vendors," said Niebling, principal and partner at Innovative Natural Resource Solutions in Concord, N.H. "Companies had invested in pellet trucks (allowing automated delivery to homes and buildings). In New Hampshire alone, we had over 100 commercial and institutional pellet and chip installations in the five years prior. Basically, it was all systems go."

According to the Biomass Energy Research Center, "The advanced wood heat industry contributed $8.6 million in sales revenue for installers, producers and distributors of pellets and woodchips in Vermont and an additional $3 million to businesses in the region." (For more case studies, follow this link.)

"We are getting our region off imported fossil-heating fuels. We have a solution that hits all the economic, environmental, and social benefits," said Niebling.

But by June of 2014, a dramatic slide in the price of fossil fuels would ultimately force Niebling and the region's wood heat pioneers to rethink their strategy. 

Nominate Your Facility to Be Featured in PFI's Promotional Video! Today is the Last Day to Submit Entries. 

In 2018, Pellet Fuels Institute will be creating a short promotional video about the pellet fuels industry, for use on the PFI website as well as by any PFI member. The Board has approved a budget, and the promotions committee will be supervising the filming and production. The theme of the video will be how pellets are produced, and how they contribute to rural American communities and sustainable forest management. It will also emphasize the benefits of pellet heating over other alternatives like heating oil.

So this is where you come in: we need nominations for a pellet production facility to feature in the video! Today is the last day to submit nominations. The video will focus on one region of the country, centered on a pellet producer but also looking at the businesses that supply the raw materials, as well as retailers and end users who purchase the finished product.

If you'd like to nominate a facility to be featured in the PFI video, please send an email to [email protected] with "PFI Video Nomination" in the subject line. Tell us about your facility and why it would be a good "poster child" for the pellet fuels industry. Please include the name, location, size, and age of pellet production facility, and names of suppliers and retailers that you work with nearby. The promotions committee will announce the location of the video in January after reviewing the applications. Please reach out to Carrie Annand with any questions.

Start Planning for the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Expo Nashville, TN!

The 2018 HPB Expo is quickly approaching! The annual event will return to Nashville, Tennessee, March 8-10. Keep your calendars open for Breakfast and Biomass on the morning of Friday, March 9, 2018. More information on speakers will be available soon. 

Don't forget to register for the conference and book your hotel rooms on the HPB Expo site

Become a 2018 PFI Sponsor in January and Reap the Rewards

Don't miss the opportunity to sponsor PFI in 2018! Sponsorship at all levels brings many perks, along with exposure for your company to the pellet fuels industry. By signing up to sponsor the association early in 2018, you will reap the benefits throughout the coming year.

The 2018 sponsorship packages include benefits such as:

  • PFI Annual Conference registrations
  • Breakfast & Biomass registrations
  • Company logo listed on the PFI website
  • 10x10 booth at the PFI Annual Conference
  • Weekly newsletter advertising
  • Website advertising
  • And more!

PFI's membership list includes more than 100 companies, and the Pellet Wire, our electronic newsletter, is sent to close to 2,000 subscribers every week. Now is the time to become a sponsor of this organization. Visit our website to explore how you can become involved.

We Need Your Input for PFI's 2018 Events

Are there any topics that you'd like to see addressed at Breakfast & Biomass or at PFI's Annual Conference next year? We'd like to hear from you. Nominate speakers and suggest panels, experts, themes, and ideas. The Conference Committee wants to be sure to reflect the preferences and needs of PFI membership as much as possible. 

Be sure to check our updated online calendar with information on many events happening during the remainder of 2017 and into 2018. Most importantly, mark your calendars for next year's PFI events! 

Breakfast & Biomass at the HPB Expo in Nashville, TN - March 8-10, 2018

PFI Annual Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC - June 24-26, 2018 

If our calendar is missing any events that you're planning to attend, please send an email to Carrie Annand

Follow PFI on Facebook and Connect 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 LinkedIn and Facebook!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and other business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Carrie Annand news or other ideas to post on LinkedIn.

Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

We'd love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! We want to be the first to know your company's recent developments to share them with the wider pellet fuels industry.

Please be in touch with Carrie Annand with information on your company's growth, job openings, promotions or other news. 

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 website for more information. 

Upcoming Industry Events

March 8, 2018: HPB Expo

March 9, 2018: 2018 PFI Breakfast & Biomass

March 20, 2018: International Mass Timber Conference

April 16, 2018: International Biomass Conference & Expo

May 1, 2018: Heating the Midwest

Connect with PFI

Join PFI

Fuel Availability

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

Industry News

District Heating Warms Cities without Fossil Fuels  

Heating homes and offices without adding to the dangers of climate change is a major challenge for many cities, but re-imagined district heating is now offering an answer.

district heating scheme is a network of insulated pipes used to deliver heat, in the form of hot water or steam, from where it is generated to wherever it is to be used.

As a way of providing warmth for thousands of homes, typically in multi-storey apartment buildings, district heating has a long history in eastern Europe and Russia. But the hot water it distributes typically comes from power stations burning coal or gas, which means more greenhouse gas emissions.

Tapping into other forms of producing hot water, from renewable energy, bio-gas or capturing waste heat from industrial production, supermarkets or IT systems, provides alternative sources of large scale heating without adding to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Read Full Article

EIA Revises Bioenergy, Wood Heat Forecasts in January 
Biomass Magazine 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the January edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, noting electrical generation from nonhydropower renewables is expected to be steady this year, and increase next year.

In 2017, nonhydropower renewables provided almost 10 percent of electricity generation. That share is expected to be maintained in 2018, before increasing to 11 percent in 2019.

Wood biomass is expected to be used to generate 115,000 MWh of electricity per day in both 2018 and 2019. Generation from waste biomass is also expected to remain steady at 60,000 MWh per day in both years.

Read Full Article

Used Safely, Wood Burning Appliances Make it Easy to Chase Away the Chill
McAlester News, Oklahoma

Fuel-burning appliances such as fireplaces and wood stoves are popular and reliable ways to chase away winter's chill. However, operating these types of appliances, especially this time of year, does come with some risks.

"Fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-burning appliances can represent fire hazards, but taking a few easy precautions can cut your risk," said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

Consider that National Fire Protection Association statistics show 49 percent of all home heating home fires occur in December, January and February. As a basic safety measure, it is best to keep fuel-burning appliances in good working order. Fuel-burning appliances should be inspected and cleaned every fall by a professional.

While using the appliance throughout the cold season, carefully inspect wood stoves for cracks or bulges before each use. Check the legs, hinges and door seals, and clean out the stove, as well. Take a look outside. Chimneys should be free of obstructions and cracks.

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

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