May 11, 2018

In This Week's Pellet Wire:

Executive Director's Notes - Week Ending May 11, 2018

Headed for Hershey - Next week I'll be traveling to Hershey, Pennsylvania to perform a site visit on a conference property we are considering as a venue for our 2018 event. While there I'll be the guest of producer-member Kenny Lisle and the Energex team and will visit their manufacturing facility in Mifflintown. I don't know that I'll ever tire of visiting our members' production facilities. Seeing people at work manufacturing quality products in rural places reinforces everything I believe about this industry. I'm also very excited to visit appliance manufacturer-member Hearth & Home Technologies pellet appliance manufacturing site in nearby Halifax as well. While I was fortunate enough to visit a pellet boiler manufacturing facility in Austria several years ago, I've never toured an appliance manufacturing facility in the United States. Finally, it looks like I'll also have an opportunity to tour a local specialty hearth retailer while I'm there. In just two very busy days, I'll have a look at the entire pellet manufacturing and distribution supply chain. 

Wood Pellets and Iran - As I write this, online news outlets are dissecting President Trump's withdrawal from the Iran deal and market observers are suggesting that this will only accelerate the increase in global crude oil prices. Candidly, over the course of the last few months, I've found myself wondering if the industry leaned too heavily on the economic advantage argument for wood pellets when crude oil (and heating oil by extension) prices were really high in 2014 and really, really high in 2008. The economic advantage offered by wood pellets in $100-plus crude oil markets is so significant that I wondered if the other, non-economic arguments for wood pellet heating weren't polished and refined because the economic argument was so strong. In 2008 when crude soared past $140/barrel, over 140,000 appliances were sold and in 2014, the last time crude was over $100/barrel nearly 90,000 appliances were sold. While I'd argue against an over-reliance on the economic argument for a wood pellet appliance purchase, I'm certainly happy to see it back in our value proposition.

Operation 100k as a Means of Focus - As the notion of setting a public target for a new floor for wood pellet appliances began to emerge after some conversations with the PFI board I began to have great confidence in its appeal to our producer members. What I didn't count on was how useful I would find it when talking to industry partners not directly involved in the manufacture of pellets. Here is one example of the week. Yesterday I received an email from Rick Vlahos, the Executive Director of the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Education Foundation and the National Fireplace Institute. Not knowing of Rick or the HPBEF nor the NFI, I picked up the phone and gave Rick a call. We had a terrific conversation, but the important thing for me was that when in the conversation it was my turn to talk about PFI I found it very easy to explain our strategy and what we'd like to accomplish. Moreover, it also allowed me to ask him questions about whether he thought some of the work he's doing at his respective organizations could contribute to the goals outlined in Operation 100k. 

- Tim Portz, Executive Director

Only 6 Weeks Till the PFI Annual Conference in Myrtle Beach! Register by MONDAY to Get the Early Bird Rate!

Attending the PFI Annual Conference is an important way to show your support for our trade association and for the pellet fuels industry. We hope to see you in Myrtle Beach next month (June 24-26) - only six weeks away! Hotel rooms are filling up quickly so be sure to book soon. 

There are only a handful of spots remaining in the golf tournament. Sign up soon if you want to tee off with your fellow pellet fuels industry members on a "National Golf Course of the Year," the gorgeous Grande Dunes Resort Golf Course!  

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. The golf tournament is a great way to experience some friendly competition with your friends and colleagues in the industry while playing on a top-notch course. 

The agenda, previewed by Tim Portz in Nashville and here in Pellet Wire, is shaping up nicely. See the panels and information sessions we have in store on the PFI website.

Send Us Photos

We're building a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills and product. Send them to Carrie Annand at [email protected]. This week's featured photo is from Bruce Lisle with Energex. 

Become a 2018 PFI Sponsor in May

Don't miss the opportunity to sponsor PFI early 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
  • 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.

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.

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

June 24 - 26, 2018: PFI Annual Conference 

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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.

Industry News

USDA Solicits Applications for Repowering Assistance Program 
Biomass Magazine

The USDA is soliciting applications for up to $5 million in funding under its Repowering Assistance Program, which helps eligible biorefineries use biomass as a replacement for fossil fuels used to create heat or power.

Eligible biorefineries must have been in existence on or before June 18, 2008.

Funding awarded through the program is used to replace the use of fossil fuels used to produce heat or power at eligible facilities through the installation of new systems that use renewable biomass to generate energy.

Individual biorefineries can receive maximum awards of 50 percent of total eligible project costs, up to a maximum of $2 million. Eligible project costs include project-related construction costs for repowering improvements associated with the equipment, installation, engineering, design, site plans, associated professional feeds, permits and financing fees.

Read Full Article

EIA: 600,000 Tons of Densified Biomass Fuel Sold in January 
Biomass Magazine

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently announced that U.S. manufacturers of densified biomass fuel reported producing 620,000 million tons and selling 600,000 million tons of fuel products in January.

The data was released as part of the April edition of the EIA's Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which includes data for January. The EIA collected data from 87 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel to complete the report. The report does not include data from facilities with capacities of less than 10,000 tons per year, which report data annually rather than monthly.

The 87 manufacturers that submitted monthly data reported having a total annual production capacity of 11.83 million tons. Collectively, they had an equivalent of 2,085 full-time employees.

In January, the respondents purchased 1.18 million tons of raw biomass feedstock, produced 620,000 tons of densified biomass fuel, and sold 600,000 tons of densified biomass fuel. Production included 136,593 tons of heating pellets and 481,705 tons of utility pellets.

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

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