August 2018 Newsletter

Did you know that National Bioenergy Day is October 24 th ? This year’s National Bioenergy Day video (released in early October) will feature several Heating the Midwest partner organizations including Koda Energy, District Energy and the USDA Forest Service. This video is a great opportunity to talk about the importance of bioenergy in the Midwest for heating, cooling and electricity. Biomass energy in the Midwest is a success story, one that deserves the national highlight and attention!
Let’s build on that momentum! National Bioenergy Day is an opportunity to unite organizations across the Midwest that support bioenergy. There are a couple of ways you can get involved in this terrific opportunity to demonstrate the environmental, social and economic benefits that bioenergy provides.
Option 1 – Host your own National Bioenergy Day event on October 24. Open your doors to your community to highlight the benefits. Go ahead and have an open house with tours and a cook-out! This would be a unique opportunity to celebrate heating systems, wood or ag material processing, and all things bioenergy.
Option 2 – Join Koda Energy in Shakopee, MN during their bioenergy event. Koda will have indoor floor space available for table tops or other displays, along with outdoor parking for any trailers. We’ll also show the special video for those in attendance, Koda will be offering facility tours and a cookout lunch will celebrate the day!
How can you get involved and find out more information? Ann Sarnecki, Partnership Coordinator for the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Products Marketing Unit will be providing planning information and helping to coordinate the efforts to maximize awareness. A Bioenergy Day specific email will be coming to your inbox this week, or you can reach out to her via email . Check out the national Bioenergy Day website too!
The Midwest is fortunate to have heating, cooling and electricity markets for biomass. But the need for new and expanded markets for industrial residues, storm and insect killed trees and hazardous fuels has never been greater. Join with us to celebrate bioenergy and grow awareness and markets for the future.
Celebrating biomass,
Brian Brashaw, USDA Forest Service and HTM Steering Committee Liaison

In This Newsletter:

  • EIA: 630,000 tons of Densified Biomass Fuel Produced in April
  • USDA Seeks Applications
  • AGRI-Value Added Grant Program
  • Tips for Buying, Drying and Storing Firewood
  • How to Compare Heating Fuels
  • Canada Delays Development of Clean Fuel Standard Regulations
  • Economic and Policy Factors Driving Adoption of Woody Biomass
  • Fostering Wood Recycling in Michigan
  • North Star Expo
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

EIA: 630,000 tons of densified biomass fuel produced in April

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing that U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 630,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in April, with sales reaching 600,000 tons.
The data was released as part of the July edition of EPA’s Monthly Densified Fuel Report, which includes data for March. The EIA collected data from 87 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel to complete the report.
Read the full story here .

USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants

ST. PAUL, Aug. 15, 2018 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today invited applications for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects. In a similar way companies look for business funding options to support them with business ideas and projects.
These loan guarantees and grants are part of USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which was created under the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized under the 2014 Farm Bill. This notice seeks applications for Fiscal Year 2019 funding. The deadlines to apply for grants are Oct. 31, 2018 and April 1, 2019 . Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.
REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations. Eligible systems may derive energy from wind, solar, hydro-electric, ocean, hydrogen, geothermal or renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters).
Additional information about the program and how to apply for this funding is available on page 40216 of the Aug. 14, 2018, Federal Register or by contacting your local Area Office

MDA AGRI-Value Grant Program

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) released the RFP for the MDA AGRI-Value Added Grant Program. The RFP and application information can be found at this link
The AGRI Value Added Grant helps Minnesota processors add value to Minnesota agricultural products by helping underwrite equipment purchases and physical improvements.

Tips for Buying, Drying and Storing Firewood

Download the new publication here.

How to Compare Heating Fuels

Download this publication here

Canada Delays Development of Clean Fuel Standard Regulations

The Canadian government has announced plans to delay implementation of its Clean Fuel Standard. Original plans called for development of the program regulations to be complete next year. That work is now expected to take until 2021.
Canada first announced plans to develop the Clean Fuel Standard in November 2016. The program aims to reduce carbon emissions from all fuels by 30 million metric tons in 2030 by setting lifecycle carbon intensity requirements for liquid, gaseous and solid fuels used in transportation, industry and buildings. The standards will be designed to become more stringent over time.
Read the full story here .

Economic and Policy Factors Driving Adoption of Institutional Woody Biomass Heating Systems in the U.S.

Active forest management is associated with abundant stocks of woody biomass that can be used as fuel and feedstocks for bioenergy and bioproducts. Many private and public facilities in the United States currently use woody biomass as fuel in decentralized heating systems and cite a variety of benefits related to biomass heat, including on-site disposal of manufacturing byproducts, lower fuel costs, substitution of fossil fuel with local renewable fuels, reduced emissions, and support of local forest management and forest industry.
Read full story here .

Fostering Wood Recycling in Michigan – Register Now!

Fostering Wood Recycling in Michigan
October 3, 2018 8am – 4pm
Western Michigan University
Beltline Campus Conference Center
Grand Rapids, MI

North Star Expo

The 65th Annual North Star Expo, Minnesota’s largest logging, trucking, and sawmill equipment show, will be held at the Itasca County Fairgrounds in Grand Rapids, MN on Friday, September 14 and Saturday, September 15, 2018.
More information can be found 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 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.
DOE: No-cost technical assistance. The DOE Office of Indian Energy provides federally recognized Indian tribes with technical assistance to advance tribal energy projects at no cost.

Minnesota Funding Opportunities

MDA Biomass Thermal Energy Incentive Program . This is a production-based incentive and pays out based on heat generated by using 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 .
MDA AGRI Value Added Grant Program . This program supports Minnesota agricultural producers and processors to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by expanding markets. Grants are for equipment purchases or physical improvements and are intended to support businesses. Additional details available at:
MDA AGRI Value Added Feasibility Grant Program The Minnesota Department ofAgriculture (MDA) will reimburse up to 50% of the costs, with a maximum award of $35,000, for an independent third party consultant to conduct a feasibility study of your agricultural value-added business venture. Any Minnesota resident or business can apply to receive funding to do a feasibility study for a new business or expansion/diversification of an existing business that will add value to a Minnesota agricultural commodity or product. This includes but is not limited to farmers/farmer networks, agricultural cooperatives, and agricultural businesses.

HTM has joined LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter

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! Also follow us on Twitter. We are looking at Instagram as one of our primarily social medias but we’re trying to find out how many followers we would get. Otherwise we’d need to be looking at getting some free instagram followers!
Click here to follow us on LinkedIn
Click here to follow us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter @HTM_BiomassHeat

Free Publications

Biomass Magazine and Pellet Mill Magazine are free to subscribers in the USA. Here’s the link to sign up for the magazine and 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-
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, Biomass Policy & Benefits, and Biomass Resources & Demographics. Is your time often stretched? No problem. Time committed to the HTM effort is volunteer time. Joint action team calls are held 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.
Individuals with a passion for biomass thermal energy are being sought to lead the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team or the Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team. This is a great opportunity to share your leadership skills in furthering the mission of HTM and to directly connect with the biomass industry sector and other agencies—all with a goal of growing market opportunities for biomass and specifically for biomass as a fuel for thermal heating and cooling, and combined heat and power.
The work 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. HTM Joint Action Team calls are held the >> Third Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. CST <<. Separate action team calls are scheduled as needed.
For more detailed information on the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team, please contact Mike Marsollek ( ); and for the Biomass Policy & Benefits Action Team, please contact Gregg Mast ( ). Questions pertaining to the Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team can be forwarded to either action team chair noted, or feel free to contact Becky Philipp ( ), steering committee member.

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