July 2017 Newsletter


The Heating the Midwest Steering Committee is pleased to announce the location of the 7th annual 2018 Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass Conference.  We will be in the heart of the Midwest woodlands in Carlton County at the Black Bear Casino Resort on May 1-3, 2018.  Having the 2018 Heating the Midwest Conference & Expo in the heart of the wooded region allows attendees to take a closer look at local biomass utilization, meet with loggers, and benefit from global demonstrations and presentations.  Studies have shown that 75 percent or more of biomass energy dollars stay within the local community, as opposed to only 5 percent or less of fossil fuel energy dollars, and have more stable prices long-term.

As with past conferences, the first day will be devoted to a pre-conference tour of local biomass handling, storage and utilization projects. The conference and expo will kick-off on May 2 with a full day and a half of educational presentations on biomass thermal heating and cooling, networking opportunities, and vendor exhibits. The annual conference and expo brings together a diverse group of biomass industry leaders (biomass derived heat and cooling, power, fuel, supply chain, developers, equipment manufacturers, etc.) as well as representatives from universities, tribes and government.  It is one of the largest gatherings of biomass professionals in the Midwest offering an opportunity to connect and learn from the very best minds in the field.  Over the next few months, HTM will focus its efforts on developing an informative program for the event.  If you are interested in participating in the planning or have ideas to share, we would like to hear from you.  Mark your calendars. We look forward to seeing you May 1-3, 2018!

Bruno Zagar


Heating the Midwest Incorporated

In This Newsletter:

  • Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act
  • Community Biomass Handbook Published
  • Wood Energy Financial Calculator
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • Wood Stove Design Challenge
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council encourages support of the BTU ACT to reduce the capital costs of installing wood heating systems and bring wood heating into the energy mainstream.  Additional information and how to join the coalition is provided in the following links:

BTEC Resource Center: http://biomassthermal.org/legislative/BTU%20Act.asp; and BTU Act Coalition >>

New Community Wood Handbook Published

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) announces the publication of the 4th volume of the Community Biomass Handbook >>, developed by the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station and co-authored by BTEC Director Marcus Kauffman of the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Jeff Serfass, Executive Director of BTEC, stated that “Enterprise Development for Integrated Wood Manufacturing, Volume 4 of the Community Biomass Handbook, highlights the importance of collaboration in developing sustainable wood products businesses, especially with forest owners and land managers.” In instances where a stand-alone wood energy system is not viable, this publication provides alternatives in creating other wood-based revenue streams to structure projects to benefit from existing and future markets.

This fourth volume is a companion to the three previously published Community Biomass Handbook volumes:

The handbooks accompanies BTEC’s Wood Energy Financial Calculator >>, an online prefeasibility tool, which allows facility managers, project developers, and others interested in modern wood heating to calculate cost and energy savings associated with converting fossil fuel-powered heating systems to wood.

The Wood Energy Financial Calculator is designed to encourage the development of new markets for modern wood heating systems, expand the use of wood heating in high-performance buildings, and show the viability of wood as a heating source in rural communities.

Wood Energy Financial Calculator

  The Wood Energy Financial Calculator Needs Updated Data by August 1, 2017: BTEC has been working with partners at the US Forest Service and University of Minnesota to update the Wood Energy Financial Calculator >>. As part of this effort, BTEC is requesting survey information on system costs for systems installed 2015 or later. All data will be held confidentially, and only aggregated data will be used in the boiler size cost curve calculations. Please send survey results to David Bancroft atdavid.bancroft@biomassthermal.org by August 1, 2017.   

Click here to access the survey >>

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

ARGI 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.

Wood Stove Design Challenge

The Alliance for Green Heat has annouced the fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge, returning to the National Mall in Washington, DC in November 2018.
The event will be free and open to the public and includes rigorous testing of the next generation of technology that can make wood stoves consistently cleaner, more efficient, easier to use and, like solar energy, a renewable source of electricity.

Read full article here.

HTM has joined LinkedIn

Heating the Midwest Incorporated has created a LinkedIn page. Follow the page to stay up to date with what we’re working on!

Click here to follow us.

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:  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

Website:  http://www.wisconsinwoodenergy.org/

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 ( 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 August 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 .  And, if you’d like to be on the list to receive upcoming newsletters, please contact Kelsey Loeffler at kloeffler@heatingthemidwest.org