January 2018 Newsletter

Happy New Year!
It’s hard to believe 2017 has come and gone, with both biomass market successes and challenges. 2018 is starting off with polar cold dropping through the Midwest, reminding us of the important role wood and agricultural biomass can play in heating our homes, businesses, and schools. 2018 will bring new opportunities! Biomass heat and CHP provide opportunities for saving heating costs, creating local jobs, and providing important markets for low-grade wood.
The HTM team is actively planning our 7th HTM Conference and Expo, to be held in Carlton, Minnesota on May 1-3, 2018. This year’s Heating the Midwest event will seek to take an honest look at how biomass thermal energy can gain and maintain momentum and traction in an environment of historically low fossil fuel prices. The reality of depressed competitive fuel sources is expected to continue and this conference will look to foster real conversations about how biomass thermal can earn some wins in this low-cost fossil environment. If you want to be part of this years planning effort, please contactBrian Brashaw, who along with Bruno Zagar will serve as conference co-chairs.
Please check out other biomass news and development in this month’s newsletter.
Looking forward to 2018!

Heating the Midwest Steering Committee

In This Newsletter:

  • Join HTM 2018 Conference and Expo Planning
  • Woodchip Standard Guidebook Initiated
  • Grand Rapids, MN Area Celebrates National Bioenergy Day
  • 25 by ’25 Alliance Urges Action to Maintain Funding for Farm Bill Energy Programs
  • Tim Portz Named New PFI Director
  • World Sustainable Bioenergy Days
  • U.S. EIA Resource Information
  • Forest Service to Award $7 million for Wood Energy/Products
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Biomass Thermal Funding Opportunities
  • New Paper Examines Preventing Pellet Storage Fires
  • LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for Biomass Thermal News

Join HTM 2018 Conference and Expo Planning

HTM has announced that the 7th Heating the Midwest Conference and Expo will be held May 1-3, 2018 at the Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota. Join in the conference planning for this event by contacting Brian Brashaw. As in previous years, the event will offer industry and heating tours, a compelling program, and unique networking opportunities.

Woodchip Standard Guidebook Initiated

HTM partner, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, is a member of a project team tasked with the development of a wood chip standard suitable for U.S. thermal applications. The two year project is under the leadership of the Biomass Energy Resource Center of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, and Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC. In January 2017, this committee made the decision to modify and adopt the existing international standard ISO 17225-4 rather than develop an entirely new standard for the U.S. market. The newly revised standard went through a second ballot with the voting body, and was distributed for stakeholder comment through December 4, 2017. The committee is now beginning the process of developing a usage guide for producers and consumers that is tentatively entitled, ‘Guidance on Use of ISO 17225-4 Standard in Field Applications.”
The document will have appendices that include a brief description on how the standard was developed, definitions of terminology, a draft RFP and a draft woodchip contract that incorporates the new standard. For more information or to provide advice, contact David Bancroft at david.bancroft@biomassthermal.org   or 202-596-3974, ext. 304.

Grand Rapids, Minnesota Area Celebrates National Bioenergy Day (follow-up)

On October 18, the fifth-annual National Bioenergy day was celebrated in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. At the Grand Rapids event, a group of land managers, university, industry, and forestry folks celebrated wood biomass and its many benefits in providing healthy forests, rural local economic activity, and community sustainability.
Read more about the event and linked video  here.
Read more about other National Bioenergy Day events here.

25x’25 Alliance Urges Action to Maintain Funding for Farm Bill Energy Title Programs

The Ag Energy Coalition, 25x’25 and other ag energy partners are pressing House and Senate Appropriation Committee members to maintain funding for the Farm Bill Energy Title programs. Future funding for these important programs is far from assured and for this reason they have joined on a sign on letter urging the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriation Committee Chairs to reject proposed cuts to Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Manufacturing Assistance Program, the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), the Biobased Markets Program, “BioPreferred, ” and others. 25x’25 is urging its partners and friends at the national, state and regional level to join in signing the appeal letter which can be accessed through the following link: http://farmenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/AgEC-2018-Appropriations-Letter-Sign-On-Final.pdf

 Tim Portz Named New Pellet Fuels 

Institute (PFI) Director
PFI Press Release (2017): Pellet Fuels Institute is excited to announce that it has selected a new executive director. After reviewing dozens of applications from qualified candidates, the hiring committee chose Tim Portz, someone with a wealth of industry knowledge and a familiar face to many in our association.
Tim Portz has been a renewable industry observer, reporter, and commentator for nearly a decade. As the longtime executive editor of Biomass Magazine and Pellet Mill Magazine Tim has established himself as a consistent and outspoken champion for biomass energy- specifically the wood pellet sector. During his tenure at BBI International, Tim was also responsible for developing the agendas of the International Biomass Conference & Expo and the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop, developing strong relationships with experts and vendors across those industries. Prior to his career in renewables, Tim worked in sales and sales management for RR Donnelley, a global printing company. Tim attended the University of Iowa, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Born and raised in central Iowa, Tim, his wife, and their two sons now live in Minneapolis.
Tim will officially join PFI on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

World Sustainable Bioenergy Days

The World Sustainable Energy Days (WSED) are one of Europe’s largest annual conferences in this field. The 2018 conference will take place from 28 February – March 2, 2018 in Wels/Austria.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are key to boost the economic competitiveness of the EU, its member states, regions and individual businesses. Resulting economic growth provides jobs and the ability to invest in the further progress of the clean energy transition to the benefit of all citizens. Clean energy for economic competitiveness and how to make the clean energy transition work for business, planet and people will therefore be core themes of the World Sustainable Energy Days 2018.
The event will feature policies, technology innovation and market development. It offers a unique combination of conferences and interactive events. The annual conference brings together more than 700 delegates from over 50 countries from business, public sector and the research community.
More information on the event is located here.

U.S. EIA Resource Information

Forest Service to Award $7 million for Wood Energy & Wood Products (Deadline January 22, 2018)

The U.S. Forest Service has opened a funding opportunity for projects that expand wood products and wood energy markets, especially in areas with high wildfire risk.
The grants will be provided through the Wood Innovations program, which aims to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health while creating jobs.
Read the full story 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.
USDA Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) Program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of new products.Applications due January 31, 2018.
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 Biomass Thermal Funding Opportunities
MDA Biomass Thermal Energy Incentive Program. This is a production-based incentive and pays out based on heat generated by mostly Minnesota-sourced biomass.
AGRI Minnesota Value Added Grant Program – Grant opportunity for individuals (farmers) or businesses, agricultural cooperatives, and local government entities. Grants are for equipment purchases or physical improvements and are intended to support businesses. The 2018 application period is open from December 2017 to March 2018.

 New Paper Examines Preventing Pellet Storage Fires

(December 4, 2017) – A white paper by FutureMetrics’s operations expert John Swaan, “Best Practices for Fighting and Preventing a Fire in a Wood Pellet Storage Dome or Silo.”
This white paper is about fires in wood pellet storage systems and the lessons learned from several decades of experience. The author of this paper has over four decades of hands-on experience with wood pellet manufacturing. The experience and wisdom that he and others have gained is the basis for the best practices that are described in the white paper. Access to the paper is here.

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 the link to sign up and receive 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:  http://biomassthermal.org/mailingForm.asp

Have Biomass Project Ideas for SWET?

Michigan Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Ray Miller- rmiller@anr.msu.edu
Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Kristen Bergstrand-  Kristen.Bergstrand@state.mn.us
Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Olivia Shanahan – PSC –  Olivia.Shanahan@wisconsin.gov

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. 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, all in an effort to grow demand and expand marketing opportunities in the biomass thermal sector, and create awareness of biomass thermal.
The three action teams are holding joint calls to kick-off 2018. The next call is Tuesday, January 16 at 1:30 CST.
For more detailed information on the Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team, please contact Andrew Murray ( andrew.treeguy@gmail.com); for the Biomass Policy & Benefits Action Team, please contact Gregg Mast ( Gregg_Mast@earthtechenergy.com); and for details pertaining to the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team, please contact Becky Philipp at bphilipp@auri.org or via phone at (218) 280-8575.

Call for Your Midwest Biomass Stories and Events for next 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 kloeffler@heatingthemidwest.org. If you’d like to be on the list to receive upcoming newsletters, please contact Kelsey Loeffler at kloeffler@heatingthemidwest.org.