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

From the Director's Desk:

Notes from the International Biomass Conference & Expo

We intentionally place our Spring Board meeting at the International Biomass Conference & Expo because of the show’s long history of extending complimentary registrations to wood pellet manufacturers. The conference offers a good opportunity for the varied pieces of the larger bioenergy pie to connect and hear about the state of play in the different markets we all serve. If a theme emerged at the conference, it would have to be the disruptive nature to energy markets of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Interestingly as the conference unfolded, crude prices sagged throughout the week and are falling as I type this. Either way, the volatility and immediate spike in gasoline, #2 heating oil, and diesel are on producers’ minds. This kind of turbulence creates opportunity by magnifying the cost competitiveness of heating with wood pellets but simultaneously creates challenges with increased costs in inbound and outbound freight.  

My thanks to our board for joining me in Jacksonville for a productive board meeting

2021 Wood Pellet Data Now Complete – 2 million tons sold, by a nose

On Wednesday, the EIA published the December 2021 wood pellet data, bringing to completion the production, sales, inventory feedstock data from 2021. PFI member Bruce Lisle stood over my shoulder as I refreshed the data and dropped the December sales figure into my table. The figure totaled $144,315, the lowest sales total in the month since reporting began. The sector sold more than 2 million tons of wood pellets in 2021, but as Bruce noted by “just 40 truckloads”.

With a soft December, 2021 finishes up looking a lot like 2018. With year-end sales reaching just above 2 million tons (2,000,837 tons) and production finishing off at 1,789,550 the year just never seemed to have that month where demand signals were such that producers really throttled up their production. In just one month 2021 production numbers top 2020 (April 137,484 vs. 122,657). Sales months were just slightly better with 2021 besting 2020 numbers in two months August (224,527 tons) and November (225,651).

December finished with 185,800 tons of wood pellets in inventory, the most in December since the pellet glut of 2016-17. Inventories are significantly up in all three reporting categories when compared to Decembers of year’s past. The East finished December with 96,443 tons on the ground. More tellingly, inventories grew in December in the East (by nearly 23,000 tons) and that hasn’t happened in the report’s history. Ideally, inventory building starts in March, or better yet April.

The PFI Heating Degree Day Index doesn’t offer a lot of reason to believe that the back half of the heating season will offer any significant departure from the trend showing up in the EIA data. This heating season just never really delivered that cold snap in any region that really drives pellet consumption in the way pellet producers would like

Registration for the PFI Annual Conference Is Open

Earlier this month we officially opened registration for the 2022 Pellet Fuels Institute Annual Conference and I hope you’ll consider joining us in Milwaukee. Specifically, I’d like to invite those readers of the Pellet Wire and members of the Pellet Fuels Institute who haven’t been to an annual conference ever, or in a very long time, to make this the year that we spend a few days with the industry.

Register Now

If you are participating in this sector in any meaningful way, I am confident you will find the content and the networking opportunity unrivaled this year. Our conference offers an intimate atmosphere. In just a handful of days, you can meet and converse with representatives from vast swaths of this sector. We will be publishing our final agenda soon.

  —Tim Portz
  Executive Director

  Photo of the Week:

Board Gathers in Jacksonville: On Monday, March 14 the PFI Board of Directors gathered at the International Biomass Conference & Expo in Jacksonville, Florida. Right to Left: Frank Scorzetti, Ben Rose, Cory Schrock, Kenny Lisle, Stan Elliot, Tammy Hippchen, Jase Locke, Karen Smeltz, Frank Kvietok, Scott Cummings and Tom Plaugher.  

Photo: T 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

PacBio ceases operations at Prince George pellet plant

Pacific BioEnergy Corp. in early March idled production at its 550,000-metric-ton-per-year wood pellet plant located in Prince George, British Columbia. Company officials have confirmed the facility is being sold.

Read Article

PFI Career Center

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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.

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