Catch up with PFI in this issue of the Pellet Wire!
February 18, 2022

From the Director's Desk:

November Sales Data

On Wednesday the Energy Information Administration refreshed its Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report with data from November 2021. Nationwide, wood pellet sales were 225,651 tons on average, an unspectacular figure for November. 2021’s November totals are certainly an improvement over 2020's dismal November which was a disappointing 190,742 tons and started a mid-heating season sag from which last year’s heating season never recovered. 

Producers in all reporting regions throttled their production back to output levels more commonly associated with late summer, likely eyeing growing inventory levels. Production in the East region dropped below 100,000 tons (98,487) with producers happy to cover the 30,000-ton spread between production and orders from their cache of standing inventory. In November, inventory levels in the East fell more than 36,000 tons, the largest one-month bite from inventory since November of 2017 when inventory in the East region fell 40,679 tons. 

Inventory levels in all three reporting regions remain at three-year highs at least (four in the East and South) with total inventories in the U.S. showing at 163,356 tons. 

Wholesale prices nationwide nudged above $189/ton for the first time this year, a modest increase (1.01%) over last year’s nationwide average of $186.48. Considering how much everyone is hearing about inflation all across the economy generally and specifically within the wood pellet supply chain, this figure might be the most interesting from this newly published data set.  

Stave and Pellet Manufacturing in the Driftless

After the 2021 Pellet Fuels Institute Annual Conference wrapped an impromptu happy hour commenced in the lobby of the Louisville Hilton and a dozen or so attendees relaxed and talked shop. In attendance was Jed Hammell, owner and proprietor of Staggemeyer Stave in Caledonia, Minnesota a small community tucked into southeastern Minnesota. Jed's inquisitiveness was inspired by his ongoing effort to bring wood pellet production into his stave manufacturing operation. 

This week I made the drive to Caledonia to visit Jed and see his operation. Caledonia is situated in an area of the upper Midwest known as the “Driftless”, thusly named because it unlike the rest of the region was not covered in glaciers during the last ice age and as such was not covered in glacial deposits or “drift”. The area is marked by rugged terrain, deep valleys, and incredible views. The area is also rich in white oak, the lifeblood of Staggemeyer’s operation and the only species from which bourbon barrels can be manufactured. The art and science of barrel making are too complex to cover within the confines of the Pellet Wire, but the exacting requirements for barrel making lead to abundant residual streams from the process. 

A nearby hospital in LaCrosse, Wisconsin utilizes biomass to heat its campus so Staggemeyer’s residuals already have a ready offtaker. Still, Hammell recognized that with prime white oak residuals there was more value in the material and he turned to wood pellet manufacturing as a means of capturing that additional value. 

A resourceful guy, Hammell sourced pellet manufacturing and packaging components from across North America and is now honing his operation to yield consistent, high quality wood pellets for local markets. 

2022 PFI Annual Conference Shaping Up

Early this week we officially opened our conference portal to interested sponsors and the initial response was terrific. In just a handful of days, five organizations stepped forward to support our conference. I’d like to publicly thank Fram Renewable Fuels, ProAmpac, MoistTech, Primary Packaging, and CPM for stepping forward and getting the conference off to a healthy start. The success of the conference requires financial support from sponsors and I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to these companies.

Sponsorship Opportunities
2022 Annual Conference

There are multiple sponsorship opportunities still available for companies interested in supporting the PFI Annual Conference. Our event is the year’s best opportunity to connect with wood pellet producers, hear about the industry’s trajectory and its participant's shared opportunities and challenges. 

  —Tim Portz
  Executive Director

  Photo of the Week:

Stacks of Staves: Jed Hammell, owner of Staggemeyer Stave stands next to an intricate stack of staves. The staves are stacked in this manner to allow airflow to achieve desired moisture levels. These staves, manufactured in a quiet corner of Minnesota have buyers throughout the world. While the majority of Staggemeyer’s products are utilized for bourbon barrels in Kentucky, shipments are also made to Spain for sherry barrels and Australia for wine casks. 

Photo: Tim Portz

Send Us 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

Heating Degree Days Data

(Worthy of a bookmark.) - I'll keep this link active for the remainder of the heating season. 
View Data

EIA Monthly Densified Biomass Report (with November data)

Read Article

USDA to Invest $1B in Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities

The USDA announced on Feb. 7 it will invest $1 billion in partnerships to support America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers and forest owners through its new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity.
Read Article

EIA Updates Bioenergy Forecasts

Renewable electricity is expected is expected to account for 22 percent of U.S. electricity generation this year, expanding to 24 percent in 2023, according to the February edition of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Feb. 8. Renewable electricity generation accounted for 20 percent in 2021.
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!

Follow PFI on Twitter, Friend Us on Facebook 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 TwitterFacebook, 
    and LinkedIn!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and other business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Tim Portz 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.

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, promotions, or other news.

PFI Icon

Pellet Fuels Institute

[email protected]
(206) 209-5277

PFI Twitter
PFI Facebook
PFI LinkedIn