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

June 28, 2019 

In This Week's Pellet Wire:


Executive Director's Notes: Feedstock Dynamics 

This year’s Pellet Fuels Institute Annual Conference featured just one presentation supported by slides, Connor Murphy from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) sharing a year’s worth of data and observations from the production of the Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel report.

Throughout his presentation, Connor reminded the audience that the report was less than five years old and was very much in a state of refinement. In contrast, some of the reports the EIA generates have been ongoing since the administration was established in 1977. Upon the completion of his presentation, Connor was peppered with questions from the audience, a clear indication that his observations and commentary were of great interest to our audience.

One of my big takeaways from this year’s event is that whenever he’s able, Connor Murphy will be welcome to join our annual conference agenda as our membership craves the kind of data he curates. And no wonder, Murphy’s presentation this year made it clear that even an average winter constrained a wood pellet supply chain that continues to struggle with access to upstream fiber. Installed production capacity certainly seems adequate, but the story of our industry over the course of the next handful of years will be our ability to find adequate wood fiber at a reasonable price.

Last week, while at a conference for private forest landowners I listened intently as a representative of the state landowning association in Mississippi bemoaned a lack of markets for pulpwood in his state. Interestingly, he had recently been at a public hearing for a proposed utility wood pellet plant in Mississippi that was largely cheered by the broader forestry community in the area as it represented an opportunity to replace some of the demand recently lost in the pulpwood category.

Fiber will eventually find a home, but the wheels of reallocating fiber streams to new uses moves slowly and can create challenges for the sectors that rely upon consistent access to it, including ours. I fully expect that fiber access will be top of mind for the vast majority of wood pellet manufacturers for the coming heating season as last year found most producers selling whatever inventory they could generate. Carryover inventories are as low if not lower than last year and many of the constraints that limited access to fiber supply last year remain in place (think Chinese hardwood tariffs).

I suspect that as the Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report publishes its April and then May report the industry will immediately scroll to the reported inventory totals as those two reports will certainly establish the pace at which we’re laying in the coming year’s inventory levels.

Murphy’s presentation from this year’s Annual Conference has been posted to the Pellet Fuels Institute website and can be viewed here.

Access The Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel report.

Tim Portz 
Executive Director

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Industry News

Pellet grilling isn't a fad - it's the future. Here's why (Gear Patrol): 

The first wood pellet grills, all made by Traeger Grills, did not seriously threaten the dominance of their gas and charcoal counterparts. Those days are gone. Here are four reasons why pellet grills are here for good ...

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Want to fight climate change? Burn more trees (Real Clear Energy):

Seven in ten Americans are worried about global warming -- the highest share ever. And they're acting on those concerns. Voters in both parties have urged their representatives to boost funding for renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

However, these environmentally conscious Americans largely aren't talking about one of the cheapest, most abundant renewable technologies -- one that's already played a huge role in reducing emissions in Europe ...

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Hand in Glove (Biomass Magazine):

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Pellet Fuels Institute

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