Business Briefs

People, Products & Partnerships
By Erin Voegele | September 25, 2015

1. Waste to Wisdom project launches new website
Waste to Wisdom (W2W) has launched a new website that highlights its three-year effort and its objective to make better use of forest residues from timber harvests and thinning. W2W is funded by a $5.88 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and is led by Humboldt State University with assistance from 15 regional partners. The grant is part of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, a collaborative effort between the DOE and USDA that supports renewable energy research in the rural U.S.

2. IRENA opens new headquarters
The International Renewable Energy Agency recently celebrated the official inauguration of its permanent headquarters in Masdar City, United Arab Emirates. IRENA was founded in 2009.

3. New Holland names vice president
New Holland has appointed Bret Lieberman to lead the brand as vice president of North America. Bret joined New Holland in 1990 with a position in service parts. Most recently, he served as head of North America manufacturing, where he has been responsible for all agricultural and construction manufacturing plants since 2009.

4. BillerudKorsnäs divests its shares of SIA Latgran to AS Graanul Invest
BillerudKorsnäs has signed an agreement with AS Graanul Invest concerning the sale of its shares in SIA Latgran, a leading Latvian-based pellets producer with annual volumes of 497,000 metric tons. BillerudKorsnäs’ ownership in Latgran is 75 percent, and the remaining 25 percent is owned by Baltic Resources Ab.

5. EPC announces updated version on ENplus Handbook
The European Pellet Council released the 3.0 version of the ENplus Handbook on Aug. 1. The updates were needed due to rapid growth in the pellet market and evolving standards. The international ISO 17225-2 standard was published in 2014 making the European EN 14961-2 standard obsolete. ENplus had to adjust to these changes to continue guaranteeing the pellet quality all along the supply chain, from the producers to the end users. New terms to describe new business scenarios were developed, the quality requirements of the pellets have been adapted to the international ISO 17225-2 standard with some of them being even stricter than the standard. Another major change was the introduction of a service provider certification ensuring that everyone in the supply chain takes care of the pellet quality.

6. BTEC to release draft thermal efficiency test method
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council has announced plans to release a draft of the first thermal efficiency test method designed specifically for commercial-sized boilers that utilize solid biomass as a fuel stock, including pellets, chips, briquettes, and cordwood. The project responds to concerns that a lack of reasonable testing standards for biomass systems can make it difficult for specifiers to provide the owner of a biomass system with a clear distinction between the performance of high-efficiency, low-emission equipment and less satisfactory performers. BTEC plans to hold a series of regional scoping meetings to gather public feedback on the standard in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016.

7. ASABE announces progress with solid biofuel standards development
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has announced substantial progress was made at the seventh formal international meeting of ISO Technical Committee 238 (TC238), Solid Biofuels, held recently in York, England, where attendees gave special attention to a series of solid biofuel test standards and related topics. Significant time was also devoted to discussions on a classification standard for thermally treated solid biofuels, ISO 17225 part 8. According to the ASABE, development of international standards for solid biofuels has been ongoing since 2007, with seven of the 12 published ISO standards being completed within the past year, and another 26 standards at various stages of development.

8. UK GIB appoints chief risk officer
The U.K. Green Investment Bank has appointed Jacqueline Redmond chief risk officer. Redmond joins GIB from Royal Dutch Shell, where she most recently held the position of head of commercial power. She will be responsible for ensuring that GIB establishes and maintains an effective risk management framework, supporting the board’s strategy and risk appetite.

9. MGT Power, Macquarie sign agreement on Teesside plant
Macquarie Capital and Macquarie’s Commodities and Financial Markets group recently signed an agreement to support MGT Power Ltd. in the financing of the 299 MW Teesside Renewable Energy Plant, which has received a U.K. government-supported contract for difference (CfD). All major permits for the project’s construction and operation have been secured and Macquarie Capital has commenced a debt raising process. Financial close is targeted for the fourth quarter.

10. Drax takes delivery of 200th biomass rail freight wagon
A three-year partnership between Lloyds Register Rail, U.K. manufacturer WH Davis and Drax reached a significant milestone last summer when Drax took delivery of its 200th specially designed biomass rail freight wagon. Since entering operations in 2013, the wagons, designed by Lloyd’s Register Rail and manufactured by WH Davis, have collectively travelled over 12 million miles between the Ports of Tyne, Hull and Immingham and Drax. Over the course of these journeys they have transported around 4.5 million metric tons of sustainable biomass.

11. Viridis announces European supply agreement
Viridis Energy Inc. recently announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Viridis Merchants Inc. has secured a European supply agreement for up to 20,000 metric tons of ENplus certified premium wood pellets per year. VMI intends to distribute to the residential heating market throughout the U.K. and Europe. The supply of certified pellets is marketed under the new Okanagan Nordics brand, which is the fourth brand in the Okanagan wood pellet family. VMI has already begun distributing the new brand to the residential heating market in the U.K. and plans to distribute to Italy and other European countries.

SHARE YOUR INDUSTRY NEWS: To be included in the Business Briefs, send information (including photos and logos, if available) to Business Briefs, Pellet Mill Magazine, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You may also email information to evoegele@bbiinternational.com. Please include your name and telephone number in all correspondence.