February 25, 2016

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Update from the PFI Board

As many of you are already aware, today is Jennifer Hedrick's last day as Executive Director of the Pellet Fuels Institute.  She has been a valued member of the PFI team for the past eight years, providing excellent service and representation to PFI and the biomass community.

PFI's management company, SBI, is working closely with PFI Chairman Stephen Faehner and other members of the Board of Directors to ensure a smooth transition upon Jennifer's departure.  We want to assure you that PFI's many programs and initiatives will remain in place, and that you can expect the same level of support and service that you are accustomed to receiving from PFI.   

SBI staff member Michele Reeder will be working directly with the PFI Board of Directors on daily administration issues, and will lead a team of professionals specializing in member services, marketing, finances, and event management. 

Michele and members of her team may be reached at PFI's office:
Email: [email protected]
Phone:  206-209-5277

While we wish Jennifer well in her new position working with an association management company in Washington, DC, we hope you will all join us in thanking her and saying goodbye in person, as Jennifer has agreed to join us on March 18th in New Orleans for Breakfast & Biomass.

Breakfast & Biomass has always been a time for PFI members and others to gather for education and networking and this year is no exception. The meeting will feature reports on the 2015 pellet season, updates on fuel standards, and the impact of the election year on the legislative and regulatory landscape. Chairman Stephen Faehner will also provide additional updates on PFI's programs and initiatives in the year ahead.

We encourage you to read the details on the breakfast below. We hope to see you in New Orleans next month!

Get a Full Industry Update on March 18 at PFI's Breakfast & Biomass at the HPBExpo in New Orleans, LA

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo in New Orleans, LA, is approaching quickly. PFI welcomes all attending the Expo to join us the morning of Friday, March 18, for our annual event, Breakfast & Biomass: A Briefing on the Pellet Market. 

The event includes a full breakfast, networking opportunities, and discussion of the latest trends and issues of importance to all involved in the industry. View the agenda hereBreakfast & Biomass will be held on Friday, March 18, 2016 at 7:30am in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Please visit PFI's website for more information on how to register for the $35 breakfast.

If you are planning to attend Expo, hotel accommodations can be made on the Expo website

PFI Hosts Webinar on Standards Program Tailored Toward Retailers

On Feb. 17, Pellet Fuels Institute hosted a webinar on its standards program, with information specifically for pellet retailers to familiarize participants with the program, including the difference between the quality mark and other labels, and why it matters to customers. The speakers on the webinar included John Shimek with Hearth and Home Technologies, Chris Wiberg with Timber Products Inspection, John Crouch with the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association and Jennifer Hedrick with PFI. 

Prior to the creation of the PFI standards program, no certification program for pellet fuel existed. Crouch began the webinar by explaining how the program came to be. Triggered by the EPA, the PFI created a third-party, independent regulation of pellet fuel, and it's transitioned from the fuel standards set in 1995 to a nationally recognized quality management program for grading pellet fuels. Currently, 12 companies have qualified for the program, with 20 plants throughout the U.S. and Energex has its Canadian facility qualified.

Read more at Biomass Magazine

Save the Date!

The date is set for PFI's 2016 Annual Conference. Join us July 24-26 at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC! 

The PFI Annual Conference highlights the various applications of densified biomass, as well as trends and best practices within the densified biomass industry. It attracts a broad range of individuals from the public and private sectors, academia, and local, state and national governments from North America and beyond. The conference features two days of educational sessions as well as industry exhibits, extensive networking opportunities and a golf tournament. 

Visit PFI's website for more information. Be sure to watch this space as registration will open soon! Sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities are available now!

Upcoming Industry Events

February 24-26, 2016 : World Sustainable Energy Days 2016

March 18, 2016
: Breakfast & Biomass

March 30-April 1, 2016
: Northeast Biomass Heating Expo

April 5-7, 2016
: Argus Biomass 2016

April 11-14, 2016
: International Biomass Conference & Expo 2016

June 6-9, 2016
: European Biomass Conference & Exhibition

June 15-17, 2016
: International Bioenergy Conference

July 24-26, 2016
: PFI Annual Conference

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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

Wood energy industry, hundreds of Maine jobs, at risk
Portland Press Herald
Low fossil fuel prices and shifting government energy policies have combined to threaten the future of Maine's wood energy industry, along with hundreds of logging and trucking jobs that supply the state's biomass power plants and pellet mills.

Maine is a national leader in renewable energy, and its vast forests provide low-grade wood that generates more than a quarter of the states electricity. But Maine's free-standing biomass plants can't run profitably without favorable wholesale electricity prices and state laws that offer above-market rates for renewable power. Today, both of those supports are eroding.

Wood energy is being hit from two directions. One blow is coming from a glut of domestic natural gas, used to generate half of New England electricity, which has lowered rates. It's great news for utility customers, and it's providing a new option for pulp and paper mills connected to Maine's expanding natural gas pipelines. But it's bad for biomass power.

Read the Full Article

Preventing pellet plant failures
Biomass Magazine
The apparent simplicity of making wood pellets has and continues to cause many project developers to fail to incorporate the knowledge, skills and wisdom gained from experience into the plant designs and operations protocols. It is much more cost-effective to get it right the first time, rather than to retrofit, or worse, fail. Errors in feedstock procurement strategies, plant design, equipment choices, process flow, operations methods, and transportation strategies lead to outcomes that fail to meet the benchmarks set in the spreadsheets that justified the project's development. 

Every step of a wood pellet manufacturing project, from feasibility analysis, fiber procurement, design and engineering, commissioning, full operations, to mill-to-user logistics, should benefit from the lessons learned by many years of seeing all the wrong ways of trying to make and market wood pellets. Wood pellet projects, whether for the heating markets or for producing industrial pellets, are far more complex than process schematics and rosy spreadsheets suggest.

Read the Full Article



Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 703.522.6778