November 25, 2015

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Energex Becomes Eighth Pellet Manufacturer to Qualify for PFI Standards Program

Announced on Friday, November 20, Energex becomes the eighth company to qualify for the PFI Standards program, adding its Pennsylvania and Quebec mills to bring the program's total number of qualified facilities to 15. Energex’s Lac-Megantic, Quebec plant is the first Canadian facility to qualify for the standards program.

The PFI Standards Program is a third party accreditation program that enables consumers to easily identify PFI Graded Fuel - consistent, reliable pellets from producers whose facilities are subject to regular third party inspection and lab testing.  

Fuel manufacturers that are interested in joining the PFI Standards Program are encouraged to contact one of the program’s many accredited auditing agencies to learn more about the program’s qualifications and how to participate.

In August, the Board of Directors approved some key changes to the program, including:

  • A clarification that the program is not a weights and measures program
  • Reduced sampling frequency for manufacturers who demonstrate and maintain compliance with the program and who commit to on-site testing and monitoring protocols
  • Conformance criteria reduced from 95% to 90%
  • The inclusion of Annex A.1 in the QA/QC handbook outlining the rules of using the PFI Quality Mark
  • A modified range for acceptable bulk density to 40-48 lbs. per cubic foot 

To learn more about the PFI Standards Program, be sure to review the standards section on the PFI website.  


Call for PFI Annual Conference Speaker Abstracts

Abstracts are now being accepted for the 2016 PFI Annual Conference for the following categories:

1. New Market Opportunities and Perspective (assessment of potential business opportunities for pellet manufacturers nationally and internationally, barriers to new market development)

2. Maximizing Pellet Operations (to include safety practices at the plant, improving specific aspects of production, best practices in operation, developing contracts, federal regulatory compliance, etc.)

3. The Global Pellet Market (e.g. economic impact, understanding the global supply chain, global concerns for existing and future pellet manufacturers, sustainability requirements, policy implications etc.)

4. New Developments within the Industry (new technology, safety training tools, innovative design, etc.)

5. Sustainability of Wood Pellets (meeting global sustainability requirements, developing a sustainable supply chain, etc.)

6. Open Category (for all proposals outside the scope of the above categories)

Submit an abstract today by completing the online RFP form. All submissions must be received by Friday, December 18, 2015.

More information on the Call for Speaker Abstracts, including submission instructions can be found online. 

About the PFI Annual ConferenceThe PFI Annual Conference will be held July 24-26 at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. The 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. Conference registration opens in 2016. 


PFI 2016 Sponsorship 

PFI invites you to become a 2016 Sponsor! This year, we have developed a new sponsorship program that will create multiple opportunities for your company in the year ahead. Your company will have great visibility at PFI events, on the PFI website, and in the PFI newsletter, amongst other benefits, while enjoying year-long sponsorship of PFI and its programs. The 2016 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
  • Newsletter advertising
  • Website advertising
  • And more!

PFI's membership includes over 100 member companies, and our electronic newsletter is sent to over 3,500 people every week. Now is the time to become a sponsor of this organization. Visit our website to explore how you can become involved.

U.S. Wood Pellet Export Market No Threat to U.S. Southern Forests

The U.S. export of industrial wood pellets to meet renewable energy goals in the European Union is not a threat to the sustainability of U.S. Southern forests, according to a new report by independent forest analysts and economists using U.S. government and marketplace data. The report was commissioned by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) and the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA). 

“This report puts to rest concerns that wood pellet export markets pose threats to the sustainability of U.S. Southern forests or the viability of other forest products manufacturers,” said Carlton Owen, President and CEO, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “Markets are vital to keeping working forests as forests. At the Endowment we are committed to retaining our nation’s rich forest cover for the full range of ecological benefits they provide from clean water to recreational opportunities while at the same time supporting family-wage jobs that communities so desperately need. Whether those jobs are from traditional lumber and paper products or from renewable energy options such as those provided by wood pellets, each is vitally important to America’s heavily challenged rural communities.”

The report reveals that industrial pellet exports represent a very small part of forest harvests in the U.S. South and will continue to do so into the future.

Please visit the National Alliance of Forest Owners’ website to view the full press release and report. 

National Fire Protection Association Offers Combustible Dust Training

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is offering an online training session geared toward facility managers, engineers, designers, contractors, and installers from 11am - 1pm on Thursday, December 3, 2015, covering the following topics:

- Introduction of NFPA 652: Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust as a unique first resource for avoiding combustible dust incidents

- Discussion of how NFPA 652 requirements serve as a guide to facility managers and others working in industries that pose combustible dust hazards

The webinar will be offered at a cost of $75.00. To learn more or to register, please visit the NFPA website

Happy Thanksgiving from PFI!

The Pellet Fuels Institute wishes everyone in the pellet fuels industry a Happy Thanksgiving! Have a wonderful holiday with your families. 

Upcoming Industry Events 

  • February 24-26, 2016: World Sustainable Energy Days 2016
  • March 18, 2016: Breakfast & Biomass
  • July 24-26, 2016: PFI Annual Conference

Connect with PFI

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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

EPA chief comes to N.H. to boost biomass
New Hampshire Public Radio
The Obama Administration's top environmental regulator, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, was in New Hampshire today promoting the use of wood as a fuel. McCarthy took a tour of sawmill in Middleton that burns leftover wood scraps to generate electricity and to heat its facility.

McCarthy says that burning wood for electricity can be an important part of a low-carbon future, but under the President's new Clean Power Plan -- which mandates a 32 percent reduction in emissions nationwide from 2005 levels by 2030 -- only energy from biomass harvested using sustainable forestry practices will count as carbon neutral when calculating state emissions.

Read the Full Article

Bipartisan support for forest restoration will save lives, support Jobs and improve water resources
The Hill
Clean drinking water, wildfire safe communities, improved habitats for wildlife -- just some of the benefits we all realize from sustained efforts to restore forests.  Restoration hits home for all of us because it delivers benefits we want and need.  Many people -- at times even with seemingly different concerns -- are willing to come together and work together because of shared interests in sustaining the benefits of forest restoration.

Read the Full Article

OPG's biomass-converted stations positively contribute in Q3
Biomass Magazine
Ontario Power Generation recently released its third quarter results, reporting increased earnings from its contracted generation portfolio segment due to the new hydroelectric units on the Lower Mattagami River and the conversion to biomass fuel at the Atikokan and Thunder Bay generating stations.

OPG reported net income attributable to the shareholder before extraordinary gain for the three months ended Sept. 30 of $80 million compared to $118 million for the same quarter in the prior year. 

Read the Full Article

Export of wood pellets from US to EU more environmentally friendly than coal
As the export of wood pellets from the U.S. to the European Union has increased six-fold since 2008, questions have been raised about the environmental impact of the practice. According to a new paper from a University of Illinois expert in environmental economics, even after accounting for factors ranging from harvesting to transportation across the Atlantic Ocean, wood pellets still trump coal by a wide margin in carbon emissions savings.

The greenhouse gas intensity of wood pellet-based electricity is between 74 to 85 percent lower than that of coal-based electricity, says published research co-written by Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois.

Read the Full Article

University of Iowa ramps up use of biomass fuel
The Gazette
Halfway into the University of Iowa’s 10-year sustainability initiative, officials say it has reached its progress target and remains on track to achieve 40 percent renewable energy consumption by 2020.

“We are around 15 percent renewable,” said Ingrid Anderson, environmental compliance specialist for the university. “That was our intermediate goal for 2015.”

The university’s growing use of giant miscanthus grasslands is partly to thank, according to Anderson.

Read the Full Article

Kingdom BioFuel opens wood pellet mill in Pennsylvania
Biomass Magazine
Kingdom BioFuel prepares to open a first-of-its-kind wood pellet mill in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This 12,000-ton-per-year wood pellet mill will provide hundreds of local residents with an eco-friendly heating product throughout the coming winter and winters. What began as a small business serving pellet burning clients in Lancaster, Pa., has expanded into a growing company, serving businesses and homeowners throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. 

Read the Full Article

Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 703.522.6778