Catch up with PFI in this issue of the Pellet Wire!

May 27, 2022

From the Director's Desk:

A Forgettable February

Last week the EIA published the February 2022 data for its Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, bringing into sharp focus a lackluster month that producers knew was ‘soft’ while it was unfolding. 

Wood pellet manufacturers sold 113,332 tons in February, nearly 15% lower than the running average for the month. Bright spots were hard to come by in the data, but the East managed to put up a number in excess of its February average (64,041 tons vs. a February average of 61,379). 

Production numbers hewed closer to long-term averages with the sector putting out 120,716 tons, about 8,000 tons shy of the 128,417 average for February production. The overage between production and sales rolled into inventory, bringing that nationwide inventory level to 183,751 tons nearly 70,000 tons more than was on the ground last year as February closed. This figure will be worth watching over the course of the next three or four months as the industry pushes towards its summertime peak inventory in July. Last year, inventories climbed nearly 200,000 tons from the end of February to the end of July. If inventories are laid down at the same pace this year, July will find nearly 400,000 tons of inventory on the ground. 

Under normal circumstances, this forecasted inventory level might feel like too much. That said, this coming heating season promises to feel anything but normal. Unless something dramatic happens in the world geopolitically it seems likely that wood pellets will deliver a significant discount on space heating BTUs next fall and winter. If winter cooperates I suspect consumers with both pellet and heating oil options available to them will favor wood pellets increasing overall sales. 

Complicating the picture even more is the demand being felt stateside for wood pellets in Europe as it works to shore up vacated Russian volumes from the annual churn. 

It will be interesting to see if the data reveals ramped up production in spite of swelling inventory levels when the April, May, and June data are published later this summer and early fall. I suspect it might. 

Senatorial Outreach Continues

In the last edition of the Pellet Wire I outlined our three-pronged case for continuing federal tax credit support for the purchase and installation of qualifying wood pellet appliances. This tax credit, achieved after a decade of effort is set to expire in December 2023. The PFI, working in concert with the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, is working to ensure the tax credit is included in any clean energy tax provisions that might come out of the Senate Finance committee. In the past two weeks the PFI has conducted virtual meetings with staff from the following Senate offices:

  • Senator Toomey – Pennsylvania
  • Senator Manchin – West Virginia
  • Senator Portman – Ohio
  • Senator Wyden – Oregon

We have been joined by constituent members on each of these calls and my thanks go out to the producers who made time to support our advocacy efforts.

If you haven’t already looked, we have posted our initial letters to the various senatorial offices on the Industry Data page of the PFI website. I urge you to give them a look. They are loaded with facts that can and should be included in your own outreach efforts. 

PFI 2022 Annual Conference

Registration for the PFI Annual Conference is Open

If you haven’t had an opportunity to peruse the 2022 PFI Annual Conference agenda I urge you to give it a look. The agenda reflects the biggest questions, opportunities, and challenges facing the sector today. It is rich in wood pellet manufacturers talking about their businesses and the markets they serve. Whether you are a BBQ pellet enthusiast or an energy policy wonk you’ll find something on the agenda to circle. I hope you will join us.

We look forward to seeing you in Milwaukee!

Register Now

    —Tim Portz
    Executive Director

Photo of the Week:

Left to right: Krissy Severude, Austin Walberg, Mike Swonger, and George McKee

Photo by: Tim Portz

Together Everyone Achieves More: Members of the Lignetics - Hayward team pause for a quick picture on a drizzly May day this week.

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 (with February data)

As of February 2022, the monthly data collection included 79 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel. These manufacturers had a total production capacity of 12.99 million tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,335 full-time employees

Read Article

BBQ Pellet Factory Opens in Manchester

State and local officials gathered on Friday to celebrate the grand opening of Manchester Barbecue Pellets’ new manufacturing facility at the old farmers co-op building.

Read Article 

Director’s Note: Congratulations to Scott Licamele and the team at Manchester Wood Pellets. Scott will be joining us in Milwaukee to share the story of his plant’s construction, commissioning, and start-up.

DOE Schedules Q&A Webinar on 5th Wood Heater Design Challenge

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office will host a webinar titled “Wood Heater Design Challenge Q&A on May 19.” The event aims to provide interested parties with information related to the agency’s 5th Wood Stove Design Challenge.

Read Article

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Have News to Share in the Pellet Wire?

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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.

Pellet Fuels Institute 

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(206) 209-5277