March 20, 2020 

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Executive Director's Notes: Here We Are

Like all of you, the past two weeks have been among the strangest of my life. A week ago, industry participants comfortable traveling to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo in New Orleans. In the days leading up to the event, it became clear that this year’s HPBExpo would be like no other. Coronavirus had already made it impossible for any Chinese exhibitors to attend, and announcements of other companies unable to as well peppered the last few days of that first week in March. I, like other members of the PFI, made the decision to get on a plane and attend. Folks made the most of it, and I think more people were surprised at how many folks were there instead of how few. People tried to talk about business at the show, but all chatter eventually came back to the rapidly changing situation, as the world tries to get coronavirus under control. I author these notes recognizing that they find all of you, like me, in a place of distraction and concern.

Our NSPS Victory

There were things not called coronavirus that has happened in the last two weeks, big things actually. Most notable was our victory regarding minimum pellet fuel requirements being stricken from the NSPS. While the effort reaches back nearly six years, the organization made a concerted push in the last two months of 2019 and the first two months of 2020, meeting with both the Office of Air and Radiation and the Office of Management and Budget. Read our coverage of the publication of the amendments.

In short, the requirements have been removed. A list of prohibited materials remains, but the EPA clarified its posture on pellets made from wood pallet fiber. The only wood pallets prohibited from use by wood pellet manufacturers are those made from pressure-treated lumber.

Regulatory wins don’t happen often, and it is important to recognize this one for what it is—a win. This is the reason associations exist, and it is gratifying to see the process work, as painful and drawn out as it may have been.

A Note on the PFI Annual Conference

I expect many of you who regularly attend the PFI Annual Conference have questions about this year’s event. As of today, we have every intention of convening in Milwaukee on June 23 -26 as planned. I don’t have to tell anyone that we’re in a dynamic situation. Cities have prohibited gatherings of groups larger than 250, bars and restaurants are closing for two weeks and city convention centers are closing. After discussions with our management partner, other associations, our executive board, and other conference organizers, I trust the answer that continues to make the most sense is to move forward with the conference as planned.

Please continue to watch the Pellet Wire and the Pellet Fuels Institute Twitter feed for more information.

Stay safe and be well.

Tim Portz 
Executive Director

Photo of the Week: New Teammates

Bruce Lisle, Energex, and Brett Jordan, Lignetics, talk shop at the HPBExpo in New Orleans last week.

Photo Caption: Fiber By-Products--Corp.’s packaging and PFI-certified lab technician works his magic to ensure pellet fuel is meeting—and exceeding—PFI Standards Program requirements.

Send Us Photos!  Help us build a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills, and product! Send images to Tim Portz at [email protected].

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Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

We'd 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.

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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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 website for more information.  

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Industry News

EPA finalizes amendments to 2015 NSPS for wood heating appliances (Biomass Magazine):

The amendments remove the minimum requirements for pellet fuel and clarify a requirement regarding the use of unseasoned wood to make pellets...

Read Full Article

Hot Trends: Pellet Smokers continue to grow in popularity (Casual Living): 

There’s little doubt the big news in barbecue over the past year is pellet grills...

Read Full Article

USDA: US pellet exports reach 500,904 tons in January (Biomass Magazine):

The U.S. exported wood pellets to more than a dozen countries in January...

Read Full Article

Global trade of wood pellets reached record high in 2019: WRQ (Canadian Biomass Magazine):

Global trade of wood pellets reached a record high in 2019 with almost half of the volume being destined for the United Kingdom and Denmark...

Read Full Article

The Continual Pursuit of Fiber Consistency (Pellet Mill Magazine):

A wood pellet is not just a pellet made of wood—it is an engineered biofuel...

Read Full Article

Plans being developed for new pellet plant (Bemidji Pioneer): 

According to Greater Bemidji Economic Development Executive Director Dave Hengel, a pellet manufacturer is coming to the First City on the Mississippi. The company, NorthStar Pellets, is expected to create 45 new jobs and will have an indirect impact with 200 additional jobs in the region...

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

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