February 2, 2018

In This Week's Pellet Wire:

Making the Rounds: Pushing to Peshtigo


The drive from Ladysmith, Wisconsin to Peshtigo, Wisconsin largely follows Highway 8 through the heart of the state's 16 million acres of forested land. The drive carries you through rural communities like Tony, Ingram, Prentice, Clifford, and Rhinelander before having to push south through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Peshtigo sits just below the boundary to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and a stone's throw from Green Bay. In October of 1871, a massive fire ripped through the area destroying miles and miles of forests and claiming well over 1000 lives. This fire would likely have lived in national infamy had another fire in nearby Chicago not have occurred at the same time. 

In more recent history, the pellet facility in Peshtigo serves as a great example of how wood pellet manufacturing is a perfect complement to other wood product manufacturing facilities. In May of 2017, Lignetics purchased the facility from the Marth Companies LLC as a part of a larger acquisition that included two other production facilities in the state as well as Marth's trucking assets. The facility in Peshtigo relies upon a partner across the road, Aacer Flooring, to provide their needed feedstock. Aacer's facility is capable of manufacturing 35 million board feet of hardwood flooring every year, according to the company's website, and the sawdust from the Aacer facility is simply delivered across the road to the Lignetics facility and introduced into the production environment. As a result, the facility in Peshtigo really doesn't need the log handling and size reduction infrastructure that a pellet facility like member-producer Indeck Energy Wood Pellets has.

The welcoming committee at Lignetics-Peshtigo
from left to right: Shawn Haulotte, Mike Oleck, and Bob Grischow. 

In talking with the team at Peshtigo it was clear that December's arctic air was impacting their business and retailers were moving the inventory they had and were calling for more. As I pulled up to the facility, a semi loaded with pallets of pellets was just pulling out and by the time my host, Mike Oleck, led me onto the production floor another load of pellets was being staged and loaded. Mike and I ducked back into his office so that he could speak briefly with the gentleman driving the truck that was being loaded. It occurred to me then, how much business our industry generates for our freight logistics partners. Inbound material, bulk shipments to distribution centers, and eventually LTL deliveries all across our industry add up. All of you know full well your own contributions to the trucking industry on an annual basis.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Lignetics-Peshtigo facility and Mike Oleck and his team were more than welcoming. They even tolerated my efforts to get my camera properly set to capture their finished product whizzing by on a conveyor belt. 

Beginning the drive back to the Twin Cities, I found myself thinking about Mike and his team certainly but also the extended team in and around Peshtigo, including their feedstock partner across the street at Aacer Flooring, as well as their roster of owner/operator logistics providers. Laid out before me in Peshtigo, was the important story of how rural manufacturing boosts all sorts of other local businesses. Our industry is an important piece of this rural manufacturing puzzle and I urge all of us to think about how we can maximize on the consumer goodwill that arguably surrounds quality, locally manufactured products. 

- TP

Breakfast & Biomass Theme Unveiled: Playing Some Offense: A Discussion about the Practical Means of Promoting the Pellet Option

In the coming year, the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) will embark upon a strategic initiative to take the message of the values and benefits of using wood pellets for home-heating to consumers. To appreciably grow the market opportunity for its members, the PFI recognizes that it must do more to promote pellet heating.

This year's Breakfast & Biomass panel will offer attendees an opportunity to hear the early thinking on the approaches and strategic partners the PFI must successfully deploy and engage to be successful. The panel will explore the PFI's plans to use social media, a revamped brand and online presence and increased engagement with our hearth and home customers, and the potential for all of those channels to make consumers more aware of wood pellet heat. Additionally, progress toward a check-off program for wood pellet producers will be discussed. 

Moderator: Stan Elliot, Chairman, Pellet Fuels Institute

  • Tim Portz, Executive Director, Pellet Fuels Institute
  • Bruce Lisle, President & CEO, Energex Corporation
  • Adam Martin, Martin's Sales and Service

We need photos of PFI members, along with their product and facilities, to feature at Breakfast & Biomass! Don't get left out - email your photos to Carrie Annand.

For those who have already registered for the HPBExpo, here are the instructions to update your registration and sign up for the PFI Breakfast and Biomass:

  1. Go through the "Already Registered for a Badge" link: (orange box on the right).  
  2. You will need to have the email and password you used when badge name(s) were registered. 
  3. Then go to Registration Tools/List of Attendees/Edit Education. 
  4. Sign up and pay for the PFI Breakfast scheduled for Friday, March 9th
  5. You can also call Rachel Pratt at HPBA at 703 522-0086 ext. 114 or email [email protected], and she can add it to your registration.

Become a 2018 PFI Sponsor in January and Reap the Rewards

Don't miss the opportunity to sponsor PFI in 2018! Sponsorship at all levels brings many perks, along with exposure for your company to the pellet fuels industry. By signing up to sponsor the association early in 2018, you will reap the benefits throughout the coming year.

The 2018 sponsorship packages include benefits such as:

  • PFI Annual Conference registrations
  • Breakfast & Biomass registrations
  • Company logo listed on the PFI website
  • 10x10 booth at the PFI Annual Conference
  • Weekly newsletter advertising
  • Website advertising
  • And more!

PFI's membership list includes more than 100 companies, and the Pellet Wire, our electronic newsletter, is sent to close to 2,000 subscribers every week. Now is the time to become a sponsor of this organization. Visit our website to explore how you can become involved.

We Need Your Input for PFI's 2018 Events

Are there any topics that you'd like to see addressed at Breakfast & Biomass or at PFI's Annual Conference? We'd like to hear from you. Nominate speakers and suggest panels, experts, themes, and ideas. The Conference Committee wants to be sure to reflect the preferences and needs of PFI membership as much as possible. 

Be sure to check our updated online calendar with information on many events happening during 2018, and mark your calendars!

Breakfast & Biomass at the HPB Expo in Nashville, TN - March 8-10, 2018

PFI Annual Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC - June 24-26, 2018 

If our calendar is missing any events that you're planning to attend, please email Carrie Annand

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 fuels production! 

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

  1. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook!
  2. Encourage your colleagues and other business associates to follow us.
  3. Send Carrie Annand news or other ideas to post on LinkedIn.

Do You Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

We'd love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! We want to be the first to know your company's recent developments to share them with the wider pellet fuels industry.

Please be in touch with Carrie Annand 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 website for more information. 

Upcoming Industry Events

March 8, 2018: HPB Expo

March 9, 2018: 2018 PFI Breakfast & Biomass

March 20, 2018: International Mass Timber Conference

April 16, 2018: International Biomass Conference & Expo

May 1, 2018: Heating the Midwest

Connect with PFI

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.

Industry News

Coming Out Hot
Biomass Magazine

A combination of record-breaking cold and rocketing heating fuel prices have nearly made it official-the 2017-'18 heating season will serve as a healthy rebound for Northeast wood pellet businesses, and likely a solid season across the board for U.S. producers.

The week ending Jan. 6 was approximately 34 percent colder than normal for the U.S., with parts of the eastern U.S. at 62 percent colder than average. Limitations on regional national gas in New England resulted in spiking prices and increased oil burning for electricity generation. In New York, utility Central Hudson informed customers that record amounts of natural gas were consumed by customers during an intense cold snap beginning on Jan. 5-breaking records on two consecutive days-and advised customers to turn down the heat when leaving their homes, as widespread demand was causing gas and electric supply costs to surge. That same week, ISO New England released statements issuing concerns about the distribution of fuel inventories across the region, and emission limits for some generators for the remainder of the winter. "Because of the region's heavy reliance on oil-fired power plants for the past 12 days, several are running low and fuel replenishment will be critical for these facilities, especially if the region encounters another cold snap soon after this one...a few power plants have reported that they are nearing their emissions limitations. The cold weather continues to affect wholesale energy prices, as well as the types of power plants that are being used to meet demand."

Read Full Article

Vermont's State Constitution Is Staying Warm with Wood Heat  
VT Digger

The bitter arctic cold snap that hit this month has many Vermonters thinking about keeping their homes and businesses warm with wood and pellet stoves, but did you know that the Vermont State Archives, home to the Constitution, is also heated with wood?

Last fall the Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS) replaced the aging boilers in the State Archives in Middlesex with two new automatic Froling wood pellet boilers. This heat plant will use regionally sourced pellets to provide heat to the building that houses vital records, including the State's constitution. It is the first part of an efficiency overhaul at the archives. The new boilers will displace 180 metric tons of CO2 equivalents annually, that's equivalent to taking 38 cars off the road! The State will also save nearly $40,000 each year by switching from oil to pellets.

The project is one of many energy-saving initiatives implemented through the State Energy Management Program and made possible through a partnership between the BGS Energy Office and Efficiency Vermont. It was funded with a $78,000 grant from the Clean Energy Development Fund and through a unique energy revolving loan fund managed by the BGS Energy Office that uses savings from efficiency projects to repay the loans.

Read Full Article

FCIC to Fund Projects to Improve Biomass Handing
Biomass Magazine

To accelerate innovation and adoption of new practices and technologies to determine the root cause of biomass handling failures and designing solutions, the Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium is overseeing a directed funding opportunity (DFO) call. Interested industrial and academic partners wanting to collaborate with research experts and leverage unique technology capabilities at the U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratories are encouraged to apply. 

Lignocellulosic biorefineries' development and operation have suffered from failing to account for the complexity and variability of feedstock properties and composition, lack of fundamental understanding of the physics and chemistry of biomass-derived feedstock preprocessing and subsequent deconstruction, poor equipment design, and flawed integration. Understanding the potential range of desired biomass specifications will enable effective handling strategies and will lead to predictable conversion performance in lignocellulosic industrial biorefineries.

A successful bioeconomy is imperative for reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy, increasing global market competitiveness, enabling agricultural development, securing environmental sustainability, and producing domestic jobs toward an affordable and resilient bioeconomy. 

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

[email protected] | 206.209.5277 | www.pelletheat.org

View this message in your browser