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

October 1, 2021

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

From the Director's Desk: The Best Friend on Earth of Man

The best friend on earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on earth.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was long gone before anyone thought to run wood residues through a pellet press and burn them in a specially designed stove, but I’m confident he would have approved. Perhaps he would have even insisted that a pellet stove (or boiler) be installed at Fallingwater. Certainly, Wright would have embraced the story of wood pellet manufacturing, recognizing that manufacturers of wood pellets make certain that all of a harvested tree is utilized “respectfully and economically.”

As I mentioned in the last edition of Pellet Wire, the overwhelming sentiment I had when traveling on my 2021 Chairman’s Tour in Michigan and Indiana was how our story of economical use of wood residuals must be seen to be believed. The numbers are there for anyone who might be interested to see, but what do they mean? The numbers are eye popping; 4 million tons of sawmill residuals in 2020 alone. While those of us in the industry know that those 4 million tons come in 22 ton truckloads, the average citizen has no idea just how many residuals are generated each and every year by the forest products complex, to say nothing of the residuals generated right in their own locale each and every day. That kind of knowledge can only come from standing in a woodyard at a pellet plant and watching a moving floor trailer spill out over 20 tons of wood chips while another trailer patiently waits.

This our challenge. Most Americans will never see this. Most will never have to ask the question, “Where would all of this material go if it didn’t come here?” or perhaps even more importantly, “What would happen to the operations where all of this material came from if this plant suddenly couldn’t take this material?”

This is where the Pellet Fuels Institute comes in. Last week I spent a good portion of my time writing letters to the policymakers that represent the states and districts I traveled through, connecting what our members do to the larger and more well-known forest product industries there. This is our mandate. Policymakers can’t be expected to understand the ins and outs of the wood fiber waste streams thrown off by sawmills, cabinet shops, pallet shops and flooring manufacturers, but we do and it is a story that must be told over and over. Moreover, and more importantly, this story broadens our value proposition and brings our upstream fiber partners into our advocacy efforts. Any forest product manufacturer bent on growth must also cheer, applaud, and support the growth of our industry. Growth in upstream forest products manufacturing cannot be decoupled from growth in residuals markets, pellet manufacturing especially.

Ultimately, I would like to visit every pellet manufacturing site represented by the Pellet Fuels Institute and share my observations with the policymakers that represent not only those operations but the upstream fiber partners of those facilities as well. Clearly, that cannot happen overnight. That said, if you’d like to help me understand how your operation fits into your area’s forest products complex, I would be happy to craft an advocacy letter on your operation’s behalf. Our industry’s story may be the most compelling example of ‘respectful and economic’ use of wood fiber out there and our elected policymakers need to hear it, from us. 

Tim Portz
Executive Director

Photo of the Week:

Stockpiling Fiber at Michigan Wood Fuels: Gary Glawe and Ben Rose inspect the ebb and flow of wood residuals in their woodyard. Nestled into southwestern Michigan, MWF provides a home for the region’s significant sawmill and secondary wood product manufacturing residuals.

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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Industry News

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Pellet Fuels Institute

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