May 2017 Newsletter

What is the story of renewable biomass energy?  How does our story connect with potential customers and stakeholders?   Those are all questions that were discussed at April’s Heating the Midwest Conference in Minneapolis.  Renewable wood energy faces challenges from many angles – current low-cost fossil fuels, skepticism in sustainability, and the confusion about the entire biomass fuel supply chain.

Can we do a better job telling that story?  While Heating the Midwest stakeholders have a positive message about using biomass for heat and power – we need to share it in a way that creates improved understanding and impact!  Our story can’t be just about Btu’s, tons of biomass, or the number of people working – but it needs to tell the whole story of the biomass heating and combined heat and power sector.  By creating an accurate and authentic message that highlights all of the benefits that come from biomass, an opportunity exists for customers to select resources that they believe in.  This message has to help customers understand that biomass energy does it all.  It creates jobs, saves owners money, supports sustainable and healthy lands, and offers environmental benefits.

Who’s telling the story?  One new communication program is ‘Walk in the Woods,’ launched this month by the North American Forest Partnership, a new organization  working to engage the public in conversation about forests, the future of forests, and the social, economic, and environmental benefits they create.  NAFP includes more than 110 members who represent all segments of the forest sector and who are united by a shared ethic of forest stewardship.  For those outside the sector, NAFP is inviting them to learn more about the diverse roles that their members play as responsible, innovative stewards of North America’s many different forests.  Check out the Walk in the Woodswebsite, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and become part of the conversation by sharing these stories.

Keep telling our story!

Brian Brashaw
Steering Committee Member
Heating the Midwest Inc.

In this newsletter:

  • Commercial Poultry Heating Alternatives
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Member Request
  • Lignetics Expands its Footprint into WI
  • DOE announces biomass committee meeting, solicits members
  • Wood Stove Design Challenge
  • LinkedIn
  • Free Publications
  • Ideas for SWET
  • Become an Action Team Volunteer
  • Call for news

Commercial Poultry Heating Alternatives

Biomass heating for poultry operations the focus of West Central CERT tour.
On May 19th, the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and AURI (Agricultural Utilization Research Institute) hosted a group of 30 at Hillcrest Restaurant in Albany, MN to hear presentations on commercial biomass heating and then headed out to the nearby Viking Company farm for a demonstration of their biomass-heated poultry barn.
Read the full story here.

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.

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.

Member Request

Heating the Midwest is conducting a semi-annual review of the Midwest Biomass Suppliers Resource Guide. Please  review the guide >> and contact Becky Philipp ( with suggested changes.  Changes are due by June 30.

Lignetics Expands its Footprint into Wisconsin

Denver, CO – Lignetics, Inc. (“Lignetics”) announced the acquisition of the Marth Companies LLC which includes manufacturing plants in Marathon, Athens, and Peshtigo, Wisconsin as well as the Marth Transportation trucking assets, giving Lignetics a strong position in the Wisconsin and upper mid-west markets.
Lignetics is the largest residential wood pellet manufacturing company in the U.S. which now has a production capacity of approx. 650,000 tons of wood pellets per year.
Read the full story here.

DOE announces biomass committee meeting, solicits members

  Erin Voegele, Biomass Magazine
“The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee and has published a notice soliciting nominations for new members.”

Wood Stove Design Challenge
The Alliance for Green Heat has announced 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:

Have Biomass Project Ideas for SWET?

Michigan Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Ray Miller-
Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team
Contact: Mark Lindquist-
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 Marcus Grubbs (; 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 June 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