August 2017 Newsletter

It’s late August – kids will be returning to school in the next few weeks, evenings are getting cooler and I saw my red maples starting to turn color. Fall is coming! Over the next month, we’ll all be thinking about things like stacking firewood, ordering pellets, cleaning chimneys and appliances, and getting ready for cold weather. But there are some other things you should add to your to do list to support biomass heating…
  • Volunteer for Heating the Midwest – we have open positions on the steering committee and our action teams and your help is needed starting now.
  • Educate yourself on biomass policy and what you can do to support the future!
  • Identify large fossil fuel users in your county and chat with them about the benefits of biomass thermal systems. Refer these companies, organizations or others to the State Wood Energy Teams in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan
  • Remind friends, neighbors, clients and others about the true benefits for biomass thermal and combined heat and power. Their use supports rural economies, offers stable, consistent prices, and supports management of healthy, renewable forests and agricultural lands.
Please see the rest of the newsletter to complete your late summer To-Do List!
Brian Brashaw
Steering Committee Member

Heating the Midwest Inc.

In This Newsletter:

  • Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota
  • Validation Testing
  • IWI to build Ontario Sawmill Paired with Pellet Plant
  • DOE, AGH to Launch Fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge
  • Legislation Aims to Repeal Energy Title of 2014 Farm Bill
  • EIA Updates Short Term Bioenergy Forecasts
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • National Forest Products Week
  • National Bioenergy Day
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota

Facilitated by the Great Plains Institute, the Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota brings together everyone involved in the Bioeconomy to collaborate and grow the industry, along the entire value chain from research and development to production and use. It aims to make Minnesota THE PLACE to build the Bioeconomy, adding value to our forestry, agriculture, and organic waste resources. Learn more and stay connected

View our flyer.

Validation Testing of BTEC’s Boiler Efficiency Protocol to Begin

The validation testing of BTEC’s biomass boiler efficiency protocol will begin in September 2017 at ClearStak LLC, a Connecticut-based testing laboratory.
In late 2016, BTEC released the first draft of an American test method for the thermal efficiency of commercial-sized biomass boilers. This includes boilers that use as a fuel stock solid biomass, including pellets, chips, briquettes, and cordwood. The test procedure is built upon European standards, past efforts in the United States to develop standards for biomass-fired heating equipment and US standards for oil and gas-fired boilers.
The test method will facilitate the evaluation of the benefits of properly sized biomass boilers, and will closely examine boiler performance at partial load points. The validation testing of the BTEC draft protocol will be done on a boiler already tested to the European standard EN-303-5. “It is our intention to compare efficiency and emissions test results at various firing rates, load conditions and start-up operations, both with and without thermal storage.” David Bancroft, BTEC Technical Engagement Manager, said.
Once validation testing is completed, and recommended changes to the test method are considered, the test procedure will be published as a voluntary industry document and continue to be publicly available. BTEC will subsequently pursue formal acceptance of the protocol by an accredited national standards organization.
Work on the project is supported by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

An overview of the project and more information about biomass thermal energy systems is hosted on BTEC’s website >>

IWI to build Ontario sawmill paired with pellet plant

International Wood Industries is moving forward with a plan to build a sawmill and colocated wood pellet mill in northeastern Ontario.
IWI chose the township of Bonfield as the project’s location after identifying a market opportunity by combining certain technologies with local resources in the Mattawa-Bonfield region, according to the company. The state-of-the-art sawmill, wood processing center, and pellet mill is proposed for a 212-acre site that has an existing rail line passing through the property operated by the Ottawa Valley Railway.

Read full article here.

DOE, AGH launch fourth wood stove design challenge

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the launch of the fourth  Wood Stove Design Challenge in partnership with the Alliance for Green Heat . Teams from around the world will compete for up to $25,000 in prizes to design the next generation of residential biomass heaters capable of generating enough electricity to power everything from a cell phone to an entire home. The teams and exhibitors will also have a chance to showcase their revolutionary wood stove technology on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., from Nov. 9–14, 2018. The event will be free and open to the public and will allow finalists to engage with policymakers, industry, and experts in the renewable energy community.
Read full article here

Legislation aims to repeal energy title of 2014 farm bill

In late July, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., introduced legislation that aims to repeal bioenergy programs contained under Title IX of the 2014 Farm Bill.
The bill, titled  “Farewell to Unnecessary Energy Lifelines (FUEL) Reform Act,” or H.R. 3419,  was introduced on July 26 and referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, and the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, and Science, Space and Technology. To date, Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Walter Jones Jr., R-N.C.; and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, have signed on to cosponsor the bill.

Read full article here.

EIA updates short term bioenergy forecasts

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released the August edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting electricity generation from renewable energy sources will reach 1.857 million MWh per day this year, falling to 1.836 MWh per day next year.
Electricity generation from wood biomass is expected to reach 113,000 MWh per day this year, falling slightly to 112,000 MWh per next year. Generation from was biomass is expected to reach 59,000 MWh per in 2017, increasing to 60,000 MWh per day in 2018.

Read full article here.

National Funding Opportunities

USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant can cover 25% of project costs and a project can begin after an application has been submitted. Applications are due October 31, 2017 for projects less than $80k and April 1, 2018 for projects of any size. REAP grants are competitive (1 in 4 applicants awarded).

USDA’s Guaranteed Loan provides up to 75% of project costs and is not competitive.

Minnesota Funding Opportunities

AGRI Value Added Grants now available
$1 million available to increase sales of agricultural products
St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) anticipates awarding up to $1 million through the competitive Value Added Grant Program. Funding for the grants was established through the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Program to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy industries.
The Value Added Grant program seeks to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by diversifying markets and increasing market access and food safety of value-added products. More information can be found here.
MDA Biomass Thermal Energy Incentive Program. This is a production-based incentive and pays out based on heat generated by mostly Minnesota-sourced biomass.
MDA’s Livestock Investment Grant covers 10% of a project’s eligible costs. The application period is September through December.

Additional details available  here.

National Forest Products Week

National Forest Products Week is October 16-20, 2017.

During National Forest Products Week, the value of America’s forests and the products they provide is celebrated, while also recommitting to sustainably managing the splendid natural resources to meet the Nation’s needs, both now and in the future. Expanding wood products markets reduces forest restoration costs and creates an alternative to burning or land filling the leftover woody material. A diversified wood products industry enhances resiliency of our ecosystems, sequesters carbon, and creates jobs in rural communities. Join us in celebrating National Forest Products Week!

“National Bioenergy Day” is around the corner…do you have a success story to share?

National Bioenergy Day is October 18, 2017. Support bioenergy by holding an event to share the benefits of bioenergy or share your story in the media. Begin by registering your event at:

HTM has joined LinkedIn and Facebook

Heating the Midwest Incorporated has created a LinkedIn page and also a Facebook page. Follow the page to stay up to date with what we’re working on!
Click here to follow us on LinkedIn

Click here to follow us on Facebook.

Free Publications

Biomass Magazine and Pellet Mill Magazine are free to subscribers in the USA. Here’s link to sign up and there is also free e-newsletters, free webinars and more:

BTEC Newsletter: If you are interested in receiving the Biomass Thermal Energy Council’s weekly biomass newsletter and other news releases, you are encouraged to sign-up at:

Have Biomass Project Ideas for SWET?

Michigan Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Ray Miller-
Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Kristen Bergstrand-
Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Olivia Shanahan – PSC –


Heating the Midwest- Become an Action Team Volunteer!

If you have a specific area of interest related to biomass thermal, we welcome your participation in one or all of HTM’s three action teams-Biomass Combustion Technologies, Policy & Benefits, and Biomass Resources & Demographics. Is your time often stretched? No problem. Time committed to the HTM effort is volunteer time. The teams meet monthly via conference call, and calls are limited to one hour in respect of members’ time and busy schedules. Members may choose to volunteer more of their time individually to support Action Team specific projects as they arise. The work of each of the action teams involves developing “boots on the ground” projects for spurring action, discussing industry challenges in each sector and how to possibly address, networking and supporting the overall goals and vision of the Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass initiative in an effort to grow demand and expand marketing opportunities in the biomass thermal sector, and create awareness of biomass thermal. Following is a list of the schedule for the action team calls:
Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team
Meets first Tuesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. CST
Biomass Policy & Benefits Action Team
Meets second Tuesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. CST
Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team
Meets third Monday of each month at 10:00 a.m. CST

For more detailed information on the Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team, please contact Andrew Murray (; for the Biomass Policy & Benefits Action Team, please contact Gregg Mast (; and for details pertaining to the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team, please contact Becky Philipp at or via phone at (218) 280-8575.

Call for Your Midwest Biomass Stories and Events for September Newsletter

As you’ve seen month after month; companies, governments, and communities around the Midwest are making progress on biomass heating and combined heat and power (CHP) programs and projects. If you have a story or event to contribute for next month, please submit by close of business the 3rd Wednesday of the month to And, if you’d like to be on the list to receive upcoming newsletters, please contact Kelsey Loeffler at