Not Rocket Science, But Not So Easy

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Applicable to many life circumstances, the cliché rings particularly true when it comes to a pellet or bioenergy facility’s fiber stream.
By Anna Simet | September 06, 2018

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Applicable to many life circumstances, the cliché rings particularly true when it comes to a pellet or bioenergy facility’s fiber stream. Regardless of what’s wanted or expected, it may not always be what is received. Coincidentally, all three of my interviewees for page-14 feature, “Wood Yard Wisdom,” said that very thing. Operators of these facilities can’t just press pause, so making do is usually the only option. From the start, ensuring their equipment is robust enough to handle fuel variations is essential to preventing malfunctions, unexpected down time and financial hits.

Also in the spirit of this month’s theme of feedstock sourcing, sizing and handling, Ron Kotrba interviewed Sustainable Resources Group for his feature article “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee,” on page 22. SRG’s niche is helping its customer find innovative solutions to waste disposal, and its most recent partnership involves collecting spend coffee grounds and using them to make fireplace logs, soil amendments and grilling pellets.

Deeper into this issue, Staff Writer Patrick Miller digs into wood pallet-to-pellet operations, which source Chris Wiberg of Timber Products Inspection referred to as “a hot button issue.” There are several producers who recycle wood pallets and manufacture wood pellets out of those no longer useable, and while some think differently, they believe their products deserve the same benefits and treatment as those sourcing raw wood fiber.

We’ve also included a contribution article by Innovative Natural Resource Solutions’ Eric Kingsley, in which he uses his vast experience in wood fiber supply and demand to provide some valuable tips on what large-scale wood buyers can do to ensure a consistent, price-stable and sustainable supply of wood. Something that stood out to me in the piece was Kingsley’s reminder that it’s not just about a fiber user’s own interests and purposes. He writes, “Treating suppliers like you care about their success (because you do, even if only selfishly) helps them become part of your success.” Kingsley drives home the notion that doing research and knowing your local wood basket can make things go a lot smoother, adding that while buying biomass isn’t easy, it also isn’t rocket science.

As demonstrated by the variety of stories in this issue, the topic of feedstock logistics is complicated and encompassing of many subcategories, but we hope you’ll find that the content we’ve provided rounds out this theme nicely.


Author: Anna Simet
Editor
asimet@bbiinternational.com