PHOTO REVIEW: International Biomass Conference & Expo

A photo review of the 2015 International Biomass Conference & Expo in Minneapolis.
By Biomass Magazine Staff | May 27, 2015

Policy was the buzzword in Minneapolis at the 2015 International Biomass Conference & Expo, which brought together association leaders for its  annual discussion of the past year and state of the industry.

Following the conclusion of Monday's  day-long, colocated Heating the Midwest conference, the IBCE general session began Tuesday, led by Tim Portz, Biomass Magazine executive editor.  The session began with some international insight shed by Gustav Melin, president of the European Biomass Association, and a call-in from Seth Ginther, U.S. Industrial Pellet Association executive director, who reiterated USIPA’s continued push for and the significance of harmonized global sustainability standards. “This is something near and dear to the industry’s heart…a one-size-fits-all for all markets.”

Melin said the pellet industry depends on policy frequently, and gave the example of the resurgence of the Dutch market after a lack of presence for several years.

Next on the panel were Joseph Seymour, executive director of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, and Jennifer Hedrick, executive director of the Pellet Fuels Institute, who both answered questions pertaining to the Sustainable Biomass Partnership, Biomass Thermal Utilization Act, and U.S. EPA’s New Source Performance Standards.

Seymour said the past year has been a tale of two heating seasons. “Coming off 2014 with a record high for propane prices, especially in the Northwest, there was a lot of optimism going into this heating season—sales reflected that,” he said. “As we saw with the fall of oil prices this winter and spring, a lot of enthusiasm dropped off, as a number of consumers have taken, at no fault of their own, a short-term look at their heating fuels. Unfortunately, that has put a damper on the market as we end this heating season.”

Hedrick said she considered the year strong for pellet producers.

The general session panel concluded after a discussion with Bernard Sheff, board chairman of the American Biogas Council, and Carrie Annand, vice president of external affairs with the Biomass Power Association. Discussion topics included the renewable fuel standard’s (RFS) inclusion of biomass for cellulosic fuels, the Biogas Roadmap, National Bioenergy Day, and the EPA’s stance on biogenic carbon emissions. 

The general session was followed by two days of technical breakout sessions categorized under biomass power and thermal, pellets and densified biomass, biogas, and advanced biofuel and chemical tracks, a networking event at Target Field’s Metropolitan Club and an industry tour of Rahr Malting and Koda Energy LLC in Shakopee, Minnesota.