May 6, 2016

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

PFI and BTEC Respond to Washington Post Editorial Board 

Following the U.S. Senate's passage of its energy bill, S.2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, earlier in April, there has been much media attention paid to the biomass carbon neutrality amendment included in the legislation.

Fueled by opponents of biomass, several articles have demonstrated a misunderstanding of the biomass industry and the role we play. The Washington Post and New York Times have each published an editorial against the amendment, using outdated and inaccurate references like "burning trees." 

This week, PFI teamed up with the Biomass Thermal Energy Council to respond to the inaccuracies in the article. In a letter signed by PFI Chairman Stephen Faehner, PFI and BTEC set the record straight on heating with biomass, asking the editorial board to present a more accurate view of the biomass carbon cycle:

We, the biomass heat energy sector, are disappointed with the substance and tone of your April 28 editorial entitled "Dear Congress: Burning wood is not the future of energy". The piece ignores some basic scientific principles that underpin the carbon cycle and paints the entire forest biomass energy space as monolithic.   

Forest biomass is used to generate electricity, but an increasing portion of this resource is destined for highly efficient heating or combined heat and power systems for residential and commercial uses. Many of these new biomass heating systems reach efficiency levels as high as 90 percent, meaning nearly all of the energy generated by combustion is being put to use. Other pathways for forest biomass energy-namely electricity and liquid fuels-top out at about 25 and 45 percent efficiency levels, respectively.


Your headline implies that all uses of wood for energy are bad for the environment. Our nation was built on the use of wood as a fuel, primarily for heating. Modern wood heating technology combusts cleanly and efficiently. We would welcome an opportunity to visit with you to provide more perspective on why we think heating with biomass presents a very bright future for energy in this country.  

Read the full letter here.  Biomass101, a collaborative group representing forest owners, pulp and paper, and forest products industries, has also published several rebuttals of the Post and Times editorials. 

Reserve Your Space at the 2016 PFI Annual Conference in Asheville, NC!

Don't miss this year's PFI Annual Conference at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina! Registration opened last week for the conference, taking place July 24-26, 2016. 

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.



Sponsorship & Exhibiting Opportunities

We are also excited to announce sponsorship and exhibitor packages for the PFI Annual Conference. Sponsorship and exhibition at PFI's Annual Conference offers fantastic marketing and networking opportunities for all involved in the pellet fuels industry. Each year, colleagues from across North America and beyond attend this "can't miss" conference featuring two days of educational sessions, industry exhibits and social events. For additional information on sponsorships and exhibition, please contact the PFI office.

Preview of Conference Speakers

We have an exciting and informative lineup of speakers planned for this year's conference. The keynote speaker will be Tom Martin, CEO of the American Forest Foundation, which works with families, teachers and elected officials to promote stewardship and protect the values provided by our nation's forest heritage.

Other speakers will include:

  • Executives from Drax and Enviva
  • International updates from Gordon Murray-WPAC and Dr. William Strauss-FutureMetrics
  • Government policy updates from Pat Rita-Orion Advocates and a representative from the EPA
  • Market experts will reveal new market opportunities in BBQ pelletsanimal beddings, and absorption markets

Upcoming Industry Events

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

North American wood pellet exports reached record high in 2015
Biomass Magazine
North American overseas pellet exports increased for the third consecutive quarter in the 4Q/15, rising seven percent from the previous quarter to just over 1.7 million tons. The total for the year was 6.1 million tons, which was two percent higher than in 2014 and almost four times as much as in 2010, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR).

(Note. Due to irregularities with Customs data, NAWFR collects trade data from a number of sources including Canadian and U.S. customs export data, European import data and from quarterly conversations with both pellet exporters and port contacts.)

Read the Full Article

Pellet stove expo in Ithaca
Ithaca Journal
Spring might be a good time to consider pellet heat.

Get Your GreenBack Tompkins, along with Cornell Cooperative Extension, has recently been promoting pellet heat and will have a vendor expo Saturday. Get Your GreenBack Tompkins is a community-based initiative that helps people and organizations save energy and money.

Using wood pellets is cheaper than other heating options, supports the regional economy and is considered carbon-neutral, said Karim Beers, coordinator of Get Your GreenBack Tompkins.

Read the Full Article

University of California mulls biomass CHP purchase
Decentralized Energy
The University of California is on the verge of purchasing the Sierra Pacific Industries Loyalton, California, mill and associated property, including a 20-MW, combined-heat-and-power (CHP) biomass unit.

Owners Sierra Pacific had previously shuttered the facility after what they cited was a government failure to implement the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act, litigation filed by environmental groups and reduced energy rates that made the facility uneconomic to run.

Read the Full Article

Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 703.522.6778