EIA to collect, publish data on densified biomass

By Erin Voegele | June 10, 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced plans to conduct regular surveys of U.S. pellet producers. Data gathered through the surveys will be published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

On June 4, the DOE filed notice in the Federal Register announcing it has submitted a request to the Office of Management and Budget for a three-year clearance of a new data collection survey on densified biomass fuel on Form EIA-63C, Densified Biomass Fuels Report.

According a notice published in the Federal Register, the production and consumption of densified biomass fuel is rising in the U.S. This densified fuel includes pellets that are used for heating and electricity production in domestic and export markets. The notice explains that data collected on Form EIA-63C will be used to estimate densified biomass fuel consumption in the U.S., along with production, sales, and inventory at state, regional and national levels. Data gathered through the form will be published on the U.S. Energy Information Administration website and in various EIA publications, including the Monthly Energy Review.

The notice specifies no company-specific data will be released. The survey will be filed by operators of densified biomass fuel manufacturing facilities in the U.S. that have 10,000 tons or more production capacity. The DOE indicated an initial survey will be required from all densified biomass fuel manufacturers. That survey will include data on production capacity, the amount produced in the past year, and the types of pellets produced. According to the notice, data gathered from the initial collection will be used to determine the survey frame and frequency.

The EIA estimates approximately 200 densified biomass manufacturers will respond to the initial survey, with 150 respondents expected file regular monthly reports. The notice estimates it will take pellet producers approximately one hour each month to file the report. The EIA also said there are no capital and start-up costs expected to be associated with the data collection other than the cost burden of hours. The required information is maintained in the normal course of business.

The DOE has opened a comment period on the proposed information collection. Comments are due July 6. Additional information on how to comment is available in the Federal Register notice.