PFI's Weekly Newsletter



April 28, 2017

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Register for the 2017 PFI Annual Conference in Stowe, Vermont!   

We are pleased to announce that registration is open for the 2017 PFI Annual Conference! We hope you will join us in Stowe, Vermont, to network with friends and peers from the pellet fuels industry and learn about all the current market trends.

Don't forget to book your hotel room with the Stowe Mountain Lodge! PFI has negotiated a conference rate with The Stowe Mountain Lodge for $259.00 (single/double). Contact the hotel directly to make your reservation at 888-478-6938 or online.

Stowe has been a destination for world travelers for well over a century. The alpine style of the lodge reflects the beauty of the green mountains and rolling hills. Having opened in June 2008, Stowe Mountain Lodge sets a new standard of luxury and aesthetics for the East Coast's most magnificent resort.

In conjunction with a dynamic conference program, you can visit some of the nearby sites like the Alchemist Brewery and some of the best shopping and dining Vermont has to offer. Combined with some of the area outdoor activities such as zip lining, biking, the PFI conference is a must-attend event. Take a look at all the great things Stowe has to offer.

We hope to see you this summer in Vermont! Please contact [email protected] with any questions. 

Government Affairs Update: Carbon Neutrality, Tax, NAFTA, BTU Act

It has been a fast and furious week in Washington, as Congress scrambles to forge a spending plan to keep the government funded past today. While a deal on a larger spending package was close at hand, talks broke down late Wednesday night and now it appears that a short term-one week-funding extension will be passed today to allow for more negotiation on an omnibus deal. We continue to be optimistic about our biomass carbon neutrality provision. In meetings on Capitol Hill yesterday, we were told by staff that the Interior bill where our provision would ride remains under negotiation but that the parties are close. We will keep you apprised. 

President Trump has been active on a couple of key initiatives. First was his administration's roll out of a tax reform plan that would bring the top corporate tax rate down from 35 percent to 15 percent. This would include tax structure like S Corps. The proposal would also eliminate the estate tax as well as the alternative minimum tax. Details on the proposal are sparse, with no real specificity on how loss of tax revenue would be made up. Supporters assert that the lower tax rate would result in repatriation in foreign corporate earnings, which would result in a massive influx of tax revenue to offset lower domestic tax collections as wells as fund an infrastructure initiative.   

The other announcement that caused a flurry of lobbying activity was the administration's signaling that it was preparing papers to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. In various meetings this week with Congressional leadership and the administration, we learned that Republican leaders strongly urged the President to hit the pause button on this action. What was most persuasive, however, was new USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue who went to the White House without an appointment and talked President Trump out of taking action.    

On the BTU Act, we continue to meet with members of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways & Means Committee to line up cosponsors of the new bill. We are hopeful to have the bill reintroduced in May.   

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Study on Southeastern Pellet Production Finds "Benign" Effect on Forests 

A study released this week by scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, found that pellet production and bioenergy markets can enhance healthy forest management. Led by ORNL scientists and joined by more than 30 additional experts, the study found that:

  • Bioenergy markets supplement incomes to private rural landholders and provide an incentive for forest management practices that simultaneously benefit water quality and wildlife and reduce risk of fire and insect outbreaks.
  • Bioenergy also increases the value of forest land to landowners, thereby decreasing likelihood of conversion to nonforest uses.  

The study concludes: "Bioenergy markets can assist landowners and society to achieve desired economic, social, and environmental outcomes by supplementing incomes to private landholders and thereby enabling management required to improve forest conditions and protect ecosystem services....The balance of evidence, some of which is reviewed here, suggests that current levels of wood-pellet production in the SE USA have had a benign effect on forest ecosystem services." 

The full study is posted online

Are you Utilitizing Moisture Control to Create a Superior Product?

How greatly does moisture affect the outcome of your product? If the quality of your product depends on moisture measurement and control, MoistTech Corp¿ provides the ultimate solution for you.

 Moisture measurement and control is a crucial aspect in the bioenergy application. MoistTech Corp's IR3000 Moisture Sensor is unlike other instrumentation of this type. Some of the unique features of the IR3000 include monitoring the product even with small gaps in product flow, unaffected by ambient light without impacting the accuracy, has zero maintenance involved and provides instant measurements within about ±0.1% in low moisture applications and ±0.25% on high moisture applications. The IR3000 is ideal for installations on chain conveyors and screw conveyors and operates well under the harshest of conditions.    

Reduce downtime & start-up time
Eliminate waste & energy costs
Monitor moisture levels at every stage
Provide a SUPERIOR product to your customers over the competitor!

For addition information or to discuss your application, please contact our headquarters [email protected] or 941.351.7870

Thank you to MoistTech for sponsorship of PFI! 

Waste-to-Wisdom Holding Public Workshop on May 17 in Sacramento, CA 

Waste-to-Wisdom will be holding a one-day public workshop in Sacramento, California, on May 17, to talk about the advances being made in studying the conversion of forest residues for energy. Humboldt State University and its 15 regional partners - which include PFI, Lignetics and the U.S. Forest Service - will discuss new technologies and discoveries that will make wood-to-energy increasingly efficient and diversified. 

During the one-day public workshop you will have an opportunity to:

  • See innovative methods and tools used to convert forest residues into high quality biomass feedstock to specifications required by different biomass conversion technologies.
  • Learn how we developed a model to optimize the selection of production pathways including collection, comminution, product upgrading (moisture control, densification, and in-woods biomass conversion), and transportation to maximize net revenue.
  • Hear how we scaled-up the most promising prototype units for three biomass conversion technologies - biochar production system, torrefier, and briquetter - to sizes appropriate for achieving commercialization.
  • Understand how we evaluated the economic feasibility, social impacts, and ecological sustainability of implementing the proposed conversion technologies in addition to a cradle-to-grave life cycle inventory for each of the individual systems.
  • Participate in topic-based breakout discussions. 

Please visit the Waste-to-Wisdom website for the full agenda and registration

Waste to Wisdom is an innovative biomass research project led by Humboldt State University and 15 regional partners, who are building on existing research on the conversion of forest residues into renewable energy and other valuable bio-based products. Our goal is to make better use of forest residues wasted from timber harvests and thinning by using new equipment, operations, and technologies that can turn that biomass into valuable bioenergy and bio-based products.

Help the U.S. Forest Service Support the Pellet Fuels Industry

The U.S. Forest Service Wood Energy Team is compiling a suite of materials to communicate the many benefits of wood energy. The materials, and accompanying communications outreach, will highlight the agency's supporting relationship with domestic pellet producers developed through our Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013. The materials will be available for PFI and other MOU partners to use during discussions on Capitol Hill and with the media and other audiences.

One of the team's first initiatives will be to develop a handout that illustrates the many jobs in the forest products sector that are supported by bioenergy - and the many additional rural jobs that could be created if the industry and the Forest Service are properly valued.

As the Forest Service begins this project, members of the Wood Energy team are looking for input from PFI and other groups on what will help the industry communicate about wood energy. They have asked for input on data figures to explore, for instance statistics on how Forest Service dollars are spent to support bioenergy projects.

We are looking for your ideas for handouts, data and other materials created by the U.S. Forest Service that will help us make our case. If you'd like to weigh in, please be in touch with Carrie Annand at [email protected]. Thanks to those who have provided suggestions! 

2017 PFI Sponsorship & Advertising Opportunities

PFI invites you to become a 2017 sponsor! This year, we have developed a new, streamlined sponsorship program that will create multiple opportunities for your company in 2017. Your company will have great visibility at PFI events, on the PFI website, and in the PFI newsletter, amongst other benefits.

The 2017 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 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.

Follow and Connect With Us on Social Media!

We urge all PFI members to engage with us on social media. By joining PFI in being visible and active on social media, we can make our voices heard more loudly and by many more audiences.

Follow us on Twitter: @PelletFuel
Friend us on Facebook:
Link with us 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 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 website for more information. 

Upcoming Industry Events

July 23-25, 2017: PFI Annual Conference

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

First Coal-Free Day in Britain Since 1880s
BBC News 

Britain has gone a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the 1880s, National Grid says.

The energy provider said Friday's lack of coal usage was a "watershed" moment.

Britain's previous longest continuous energy period without coal until now was 19 hours - first achieved last May, and again on Thursday.
The government plans to phase out Britain's last plants by 2025 in order to cut carbon emissions.

Friday is thought to be the first time the nation has not used coal to generate electricity since the world's first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882, at Holborn Viaduct in London.

Cordi O'Hara, of the National Grid, described Friday as "a watershed moment in how our energy system is changing".

She added: "The UK benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity. Our energy mix continues to change and National Grid adapts system operation to embrace these changes."

But Ms O'Hara says that while the country makes the transition to a low carbon system, coal remains an important source of energy.

According to, around half of British energy on Friday came from natural gas, with about a quarter coming from nuclear plants.
Wind, biomass, and imported energy were also used.

Read the Full Article

Wood Pellet Producers Eye Asia's Energy Market Bioenergy Insight

Asian countries are showing a strong interest in consuming more wood pellets in order to replace coal in their power grids and to shift away from nuclear power, according to an industry expert speaking at the Argus Biomass 2017 conference.

Giving a presentation entitled 'A statistical review of the consumption of biomass for heat and power generation', Rachael Levinson, editor of biomass at Argus, said: "Asia has the potential to overtake Europe in the next few years."

This fact has led Canadian and US wood pellet producers to show an interest in exporting their wood pellets to Asian countries like Japan.

Currently, the UK is the world's biggest net importer of wood pellets. It used around 7.2 million tonnes last year.

This is mainly driven by Drax's coal-to-biomass plant conversion.

Delegates also learnt that Denmark, Belgium, Italy and South Korea were also big net importers of wood pellets.

Read the Full Article

Biomass as an Economic Development Tool Jefferson Public Radio, Oregon

The days of massive clearcuts of massive trees are largely over, at least on public land. 

And in this age of smaller-diameter trees, there's plenty of talk of biomass. Think of biomass as the leftovers... woody material too small to turn into lumber, but still big enough to burn.

The big question is whether it burns in the forest, or burns in a boiler, creating energy.

Both the federal Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry have programs that guide and encourage the use of biomass, as an economic development tool for rural communities.

Marcus Kauffmann is ODF's biomass expert and our guest.

Read the Full Article

Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 206.209.5277