Business Briefs

By Biomass Magazine | October 31, 2019

Midwest Biomass Exchange now online
A new, web-based resource is available to buyers and sellers of biomass. The Midwest Biomass Exchange is a free, user-friendly internet marketplace designed to connect buyers and sellers. Updated from the former Minneapolis Biomass Exchange, the new site focuses more closely on biomass for fuel, serving the Midwest U.S. and Canada.

Users can place “for sale” and “wanted” ads for biomass used as fuel for heating and power generation, or as feedstock for other manufacturing processes. The new resource also includes a map showing approximate locations of buyers and sellers, and an email utility for registered users to contact other users. MBIOEX was created and supported by the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Marketing Unit, and partners including Heating the Midwest, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

EIA: Densified biomass sales reach 780,000 tons in June
The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing U.S. manufacturers produced 770,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in June, with sales reaching 780,000 tons. The data was released as part of the September edition of the EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which includes data for June. The EIA collected data from 83 manufacturers  producing over 10,000 tons annually, reporting a combined production capacity of 11.87 million tons per year and employing 2,211 full-time employees.

 In June, respondents purchased 1.39 million tons of raw biomass feedstock, produced 770,000 tons of densified biomass fuel and sold 780,000 tons. Sales included 163,585 tons of heating pellets and 601,666 tons of utility pellets. Domestic sales of densified biomass fuel in June reached 134,415 tons at an average price of $162.83 per ton. Exports reached 648,255 tons at an average price of $180.76 per ton.

Inventories of premium/standard wood pellets increased to 234,904 tons in June, up from 185,326 tons in May, with inventories of utility pellets falling to 329,763 tons, down from 418,265 tons.

Fiber costs fall for US pellet producers, rise for Canadian
Wood fiber costs for U.S. pellet manufacturers fell in Q2 2019, while Canadian pellet producers experienced higher costs due to reduced supply of sawmill residues, reports the North American Wood Fiber Review.   

Many pellet manufacturers in North America have had to increase the usage of logs for their feedstock in 2019 due to reduced availability of lower-cost sawmill residues. This has resulted in higher total wood fiber costs and increases in the pellet feedstock price indices for both Canada and the U.S. in the first half of 2019, according to NAWFR.

In late 2018, higher demand and tighter supply of low-cost sawmill residues pushed wood fiber costs higher for pellet producers in both Canada and the U.S. The price increase in the U.S. was mainly due to the wet logging conditions in the southern states that began in late 2018 and intensified in Q1 2019, which negatively affected harvesting operations and increased costs for roundwood.

Future Forests + Jobs initiative combats biomass misinformation
Future Forests + Jobs has launched in order to advance a fact-based conversation around renewable wood energy and hold those who spread misinformation about the industry to account.

Future Forests + Jobs will combat misinformation through a new website, FutureForestsAndJobs.com, as well as through media engagement and other grassroots activities. Future Forests + Jobs is supported by the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association, and will be led by Brian Rogers, who served as a senior staffer to Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, for nearly a decade, and previously worked as research director for former Vice President Al Gore’s Repower America campaign for comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

Brightmark Energy invests in New York dairy biogas project
Brightmark Energy, a San Francisco-based waste-to-energy development company, announced it has partnered with four dairy farms in upstate New York to utilize anaerobic digesters that will convert a total of 225,000 gallons of dairy waste per day from 11,000 cows into biogas and other useful products.

After the planned installation of gas upgrade equipment is completed at the Swiss Valley, Zuber, Boxler and Lake Shore farms, as well as a fifth farm expected to be finalized in October, the project is anticipated to generate about 260,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas each year. The gas processed at each farm will be transported to the Zuber farm, where it will be injected into the Empire interstate gas pipeline.

Monarch Bioenergy extends RNG marketing agreement with EMRE
Monarch Bioenergy, a joint venture between Smithfield Foods Inc. and Roeslein Alternative Energy, has awarded Element Markets Renewable Energy a five-year contract extension as the exclusive marketer for the renewable natural gas (RNG) produced at Monarch’s biomethane production facilities in northern Missouri. Monarch converts hog manure collected from Smithfield Hog Production farms in that state into RNG, while simultaneously delivering ecological services and developing wildlife habitat.

Through this joint venture, all Smithfield-owned finishing farms in Missouri will have the infrastructure to produce RNG, resulting in approximately 1.3 million dekatherms annually once complete, equivalent to eliminating 130,000 gasoline vehicles from the road.

Komptech introduces compact all-purpose wood chipper
Komptech’s  new Axtor 4510 rounds out the proven Axtor series at the bottom end. Like previous models Axtor 6010 and 8012, the new machine can shred as well as chip, and is designed for wood and green cuttings. In shredder mode with free-swinging teeth, it makes composting material. While in chipper mode with fixed blades and lower speed, it makes biomass fuel that is ideal for heating plants. Easy transportation makes it likewise ideal for contract service providers that need to react flexibly in terms of work sites, as well as in their service offerings, from shredding to chipping.