June 2018 Newsletter

From the early days of building a fire to heat a cave, to modern times using advanced technology to cleanly and efficiently utilize combined heat and power systems for district heating applications, we have used biomass as a source of heat. Whether used in a small stove inside an ice fishing shanty, or in a large industrial application providing heat for the production of food and goods, or any size in between, utilization of sustainable biomass resources provides great utility to the user.
We are fortunate to live and work in the Midwest, a region with plentiful natural resources with which we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Savings can be had over fossil fuels, however, there are times where biomass may be slightly more expensive than other types of heating fuels. Using biomass does provide a stable price point, local jobs, dollars back into the local economy, and a reduction in waste materials left to rot in the forests, fields, and landfills.
From forestry residues, agricultural byproducts, storm and insect damaged trees, or recycled wood material, you likely have some type of biomass material in your area that could be used in a heating application. I would encourage everybody to take a look at the availability of this renewable source of energy in your area, and imagine some heating applications that you or others with which you have a connection could use it as a supply of thermal energy. Get engaged, be part of the conversation, educate, and help be part of the solution! We have a spot for you, whether as a member of the steering committee, a participant on one of our action teams, an attendee at our annual conference, or even as a casual consumer of information from our website and newsletter. Your participation is important.
Have a great Summer! In the Midwest, Winter ( and the next heating season ) is always just around the corner.
Stacy Cook
Vice President of Heating The Midwest ( HTM )

In This Newsletter:

  • Senate Ag Committee Restores 2018 Farm Bill Energy Title Funding
  • Households heating with wood or pellets declined by nearly 10% between 2011 and 2016
  • Tips for Buying, Drying and Storing Firewood
  • Clean Air Minnesota Wood Smoke Project Team
  • GRE 2018 MN Farm Program
  • Elimination of CO in Stored Wood Pellets
  • US Wood Chip Standard
  • 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge
  • National Funding Opportunities
  • Minnesota Funding Opportunities
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

Senate Ag Committee Restores 2018 Farm Bill Energy Title Funding

On June 13, the Senate ag committee approved its version of the 2018 Farm Bill with bipartisan support. The legislation includes an amendment offered by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., that restores mandatory funding to Farm Bill Energy Title programs. The legislation, officially titled the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, will now be considered by the full Senate.
Klobuchar offered the amendment during a June 13 committee meeting held on Farm Bill legislation. The amendment aims to restore mandatory funding for Energy Title programs to 2014 levels.
Read the full story here .

Households heating with wood or pellets declined by nearly 10% between 2011 and 2016

In 2011, the Alliance for Green Heat  reported a significant rise  in the number of U.S. homes using wood or pellets as a primary source of heat. According to the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey, residential wood and pellet heat grew 34% between 2000 and 2010, faster than any other heating fuel. Propane and oil heat experienced the greatest declines during the time period, leading the Alliance to speculate that the rise of wood and pellet heating was driven by the economic recession, rising oil prices, and support for renewable energy.
Read the full story here

Tips for Buying, Drying and Storing Firewood

Download the PDF here .

Clean Air Minnesota Wood Smoke Project Team

The Clean Air Minnesota Wood Smoke Project Team is working to maximize emission reduction opportunities from wood burning sources through a pilot wood stove exchange program, information sharing, outreach, and education. Areas of discussion and interest include biomass appliance technologies, brush and biomass management, education on wood storage and best burn practices, and wood stove change-out programs.
More information can be found here

GRE 2018 MN Farm Program

New Farm Energy Management Program in 2018. Find more information here

Elimination of CO in Stored Wood Pellets

US Wood Chip Standard

2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge

Fourth Wood Stove Competition to focus on automation and electricity generation
The Alliance for Green Heat is planning the fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge on the National Mall in Washington, DC from November 9 – 14, 2018.
The 2018 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 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 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 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:https://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/valueaddedgrant.aspx
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.
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 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
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. 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. Until further notice, the call schedule for the HTM Joint Action Team calls is:
  >> Meets third Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. CST <<
For more detailed information on the Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team or the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team, please contact Becky Philipp (bphilipp@auri.org ) or via phone at (218) 280-8575; and for the Biomass Policy & Benefits Action Team, please contact Gregg Mast ( Gregg_Mast@earthtechenergy.com )

Call for Your Midwest Biomass Stories and Events for July 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 .