Business Briefs

By Biomass Magazine | April 21, 2022

US EIA: Densified biomass fuel sales reach 990,000 tons in November
The U.S. EIA recently released data showing U.S. manufacturers produced approximately 790,000 tons of densified biomass fuel in November, with sales reaching 990,000 tons. The data was released as part of the February edition of EIA’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which contains data for November. The 80 manufacturers surveyed for November had a total combined production capacity of 12.96 million tons per year and collectively had the equivalent of 2,331 full-time employees.
Respondents purchased 1.6 million tons of raw biomass feedstock in November, produced 790,000 tons of densified biomass fuel and sold 990,000 tons of densified biomass fuel. Production included 149,511 tons of heating pellets and 645,782 tons of utility pellets.

Domestic sales of densified biomass fuel in November reached 225,651 tons at an average price of $189.12 per ton. Exports in November reached 764,642 tons at an average price of $172.32 per ton. Inventories of premium/standard pellets fell to 163,356 tons in November, down from 216,306 tons in October. Inventories of utility pellets fell to 407,359 tons in November, down from 476,348 tons in October.

Delta signs SAF agreement with Gevo  
Gevo Inc. has signed a take-or-pay agreement with Delta Air Lines Inc. to supply 75 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) per year for seven years. The agreement replaces the existing agreement signed with Delta in 2019 to purchase 10 million gallons per year. Delta will need to secure 400 million gallons annually by the end of 2030 to meet its 10% SAF procurement commitment.

UK groups ban wood products from Russia, Belarus
The U.K. Pellet Council and Forest Stewardship Council announced they will no longer recognize wood products coming from Russia and Belarus, stopping their import for use in bioenergy applications.
The FSC on March 8 announced its international board of directors has agreed to suspend all trading certificates in Russia and Belarus and block all controlled wood and forest product sourcing from the two countries.  Wood and other forest products can no longer be sourced as FSC-certified or controlled from Russia and Belarus for their inclusion in FSC products anywhere in the world, although forest management certificate holders in Russia have the option of maintaining their FSC certification of forest management.

Mark Lebus, chair of the UK Pellet Council, said in mid-March that wood pellets will no longer be sourced from Russia or imported from Russian producers. He cautioned the action might cause some short-term price increases for biomass heating systems and called on the U.K. government to invest in domestic wood pellet production.

US wood pellet exports at 655,657 tons in January
The U.S. exported 655,656.5 metric tons (MT) of wood pellets in January, down from 774,410.2 MT exported the previous month, but up when compared to the 599,624.2 MT exported in January 2021, according to data released by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on March 11. The U.S. exported wood pellets to more than a dozen countries in January. The U.K. was the top destination at 458,598.3 MT, followed by Denmark at 91,872.1 MT, and the Netherlands at 91,172 MT.

Neste, bp announce separate SAF agreements with DHL
Neste and bp each announced agreements with DHL Express for the supply of approximately 105.67 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The agreements will help DHL Group reach its goal of using a 30% SAF blend for all air transport by 2030. Peter Vanacker, president and CEO of Neste, said the milestone agreement is the company’s largest ever for SAF.

PacBio ceases operations at Prince George pellet plant
Pacific BioEnergy Corp. idled production at its 550,000-metric-ton-per-year wood pellet plant located in Prince George, British Columbia, in mid-March. Company officials confirmed the facility is being sold. PacBio initially announced its plants to permanently close in December, after having reached an agreement to assign some of its assets, including long-term sales contracts for wood pellets, to Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc., part of the Drax Group. PacBio CEO John Sterling said the company had been battling several challenges for the past few years, including sawmill closures in the region that reduced the volume and increased the cost of raw materials, as well as forest fires, landslides and floods that impacted the ability to transport product by rail to the export terminal in North Vancouver.