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

July 24, 2020 

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

From the Director's Desk: In Anticipation of VirtuallyPFI

This week we held Zoom practice sessions for all of our VirtuallyPFI panelists, and I am really looking forward to the conversations. If you have not already signed up for VirtuallyPFI, I urge you to do so today. Our panels were all lifted directly from the agenda we had built for our annual conference, and I will be asking the questions industry participants and our partners in the home heating and grilling community have on their minds - 

Are producers able to get the amount of fiber they need? How have manufacturing plants adjusted operations during the pandemic? How are retailers managing through the pandemic? Has production remained steady and consistent? How are current wood pellet inventories across the country?

I look forward to asking those and many more.

Our first panel is a data-intensive look at wood pellet production and sales, here and abroad. We’ll be joined by Connor Murphy, lead statistician at the Energy Information Administration and William Strauss, president of FutureMetrics. Attendees can expect to walk away from this session with a comprehensive snapshot of the state of play in wood pellet manufacturing around the world. Connor Murphy’s presentation will include data through April, with those numbers being published last week.

Wood pellet manufacturers saw their smallest throughput in two years this April. While April has historically been a lighter production month (the five-year average is just over 107,000), the 122,000 number sticks out considering the robust production we’ve witnessed over the course of the last 24 months. I’ll be asking Murphy and the members of our producer panels about that number and what they attribute the throttle back to.

Perhaps they’ll offer that the large inventory build-up in March informed their decisions as stored pellets doubled from 86,000 tons in February to 170,00 tons at the end of April. This will offer me a perfect segue to ask a question that I’ve been wondering about for years; where should inventory numbers be as the home heating industry heads into the heating season in August?

While the Monthly Densified Biomass Report has only been tracking data for five years, a trend toward smaller standing inventory is clear. Consider this, in 2016 the monthly average for wood pellet inventory was over 500,000 tons. Last year the monthly average was 138,000 tons. While I heard isolated stories of retailers not being able to get pellet shipments for a week or two last year, I never heard of any widespread and prolonged shortages or outages.

How has the industry kept retailers and consumers in pellets without large and expensive stockpiles of finished product? Have we simply been lucky that a truly deep and prolonged winter hasn’t exposed a weak spot in the supply chain, or has the industry matured and figured out how to operate in more of a just-in-time production approach?

The good news is next week I’ll be able to ask these and other questions of the people that know the answers, or at the very least know their opinions. I hope you will join me.

Tim Portz 
Executive Director

Register Your Support: Win a Pellet Grill

Member and longtime PFI Annual Conference Danson’s has always supported our conference with a pellet grill to motivate people to action regarding their conference registration. This year, despite our inability to gather in person, is no different. 

All attendees registering at the “Register Your Support” rate of $445 will be entered for a chance to win. Registration revenue from our conference is vitally important to the success of PFI. We are hopeful that our traditional conference attendees can support us at the “Register Your Support” rate.

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].

Registration for VirtuallyPFI is Open

Last month, we announced that the agenda for VirtuallyPFI, our replacement for our coronavirus-impacted in-person conference, has been finalized and registration is open. If you missed that email or haven’t had an opportunity to look at the agenda, I encourage you to have a look. We pulled the discussions from the agenda of our annual conference and I look forward to the conversations about our sector, in what may go down as one of the most unprecedented business years any of us have ever experienced.

Follow PFI on Twitter, Friend Us on Facebook, and Connect with Us on LinkedIn 

We'd like to connect and interact with PFI members and anyone else involved in pellet fuel production! 

Here's how you can help us build our online community:

  1. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Tim Portz news or other ideas to post on PFI's social media. 

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. 

Join a PFI Committee

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 Committee Page for more information.  

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Join PFI

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.

Thanks for Your Continued Support of PFI! 

Not a member yet? Learn more about how PFI can work for you and join today! 


New Platform. Same important conversations

Learn more and register for PFI's Virtual Conference!


 Industry News

America is on a Lumber Binge (Wall Street Journal)

Gold is climbing toward a record high, oil futures went from minus $40 a barrel to $40 in a month and a half, but the hottest commodity in the U.S. these days is wood.

Prices for forest products like lumber and plywood have soared because of booming demand from home builders making up for lost time, a DIY explosion sparked by stay-at-home orders and a race among restaurants and bars to install outdoor seating areas.


Read Full Article

Lumber Prices Rise Sharply Despite Covid-19 (Barrons)

Lumber prices made a big comeback in the second quarter, with a nearly 60% jump for the period more than making up for a loss in the first three months of the year, as home builders rebounded from the initial effects of the pandemic.

Lumber prices and their rapid rise, particularly in the three weeks ended on July 2, have exposed an industry that was or is “underinventoried to meet current demand,” says Greg Kuta, president of lumber broker Westline Capital Strategies...

Read Full Article

Pinnacle Renewable Energy to Build Production Facility in Alabama (Birmingham Business Journal)

A subsidiary of a Canada-based company has finalized plans for a big project in Alabama.

Alabama Pellets LLC, a subsidiary of Vancouver's Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc., plans to invest $95 million to construct a wood pellet production facility in Demopolis. The company had previously mentioned the project, but now incentives have been detailed and plans for the new facility are coming into focus...

Read Full Article

EPA proposes to amend regulations for certain industrial boilers (Biomass Magazine)

The U.S. EPA on July 9 released a proposed rule that aims to amend emission standards for certain categories of boilers based on the maximum achievable control technologies (MACT). The American Wood Council said it is encouraged by the clarity the rule provides.

The rule, referred as the Boiler MACT, proposes to amend the 2013 national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters...

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

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