Back on the ENplus Track

This week, we received notice from the United Kingdom Pellet Council that the government’s temporary suspension of ENplus wood pellet standards would expire Nov. 22
By Anna Simet | May 18, 2023

This week, we received notice from the United Kingdom Pellet Council that the government’s temporary suspension of ENplus wood pellet standards would expire Nov. 22. Come then, U.K. traders and customers will be required to move back to using all ENplus certified pellets. Most of you reading this likely know the reason for implementing the suspension, and we have covered this story as it has evolved. In short, the requirement was waived due to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, via a complete ban of all wood products coming from Russia. This meant 3.5 million metric tons of pellets flowing into the European supply chain was no longer allowed, prompting end users to look elsewhere due to this shortfall—and not all sellers with tonnage to spare were ENplus certified, for a variety of reasons. The UKPC stated in the memo that the suspension served its purpose, as “The U.K.’s wood pellet and biomass for heating sectors have witnessed minimal disruption to consumer supply, especially over the winter months when customer demand is usually greater.”  While there have been assertions that some Russian wood pellets were rerouted, repacked and ultimately sent where banned, producers across the globe were able to temporarily participate in that market—including in the U.S.—at least for a while.  Mark Lebus, chair of the UKPC, explained, “Given the scale of this reduction and the speed in which sanctions were applied, having no interruption to supply for U.K. biomass boiler owners was a major achievement and something which couldn’t be done by fossil fuel suppliers who continue to import Russian gas, oil and coal.”

Moving onto content in this issue of Pellet Mill Magazine, our themed stories include a Q&A with five fire and explosion technology experts on the evolution of the sector and their favorite products, as well as aspects they believe the industry should improve. Check out “Innovations in Fire & Explosion Protection” by freelance writer Keith Loria on page 19. As well, you’ll find a contribution article focused on fiber optic linear heat detection and its benefits to the wood pellet industry on page 28, written by AP Sensing.

Additional features in this story include a profile story on Mesa Verde Pellets, a Mancos, Colorado-based wood pellet operation implemented by Aspen Wood Products. They're just commencing startup at the plant, an endeavor the company decided to pursue when the offtaker of its sawdust went away. Staff writer Katie Schroeder chatted with President and CEO David Sitton about the driving force behind the project, as well as challenges and future plans.

Finally, I got a brief industry history lesson when I chatted with Bruce Lisle of Lignetics (who sold Energex to the company a few years ago) for our page-24 feature, “From the History Books.” During our conversation, he told me about how he got into the industry, the history of Energex’s Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, pellet plant, and a little about the domestic heating industry’s roots and early pioneers. While this is quite a boiled down version of industry beginnings, I hope you learn something new.

On a different and closing note, we’re looking for new guests for our podcast. If you’re interested, drop me a line—would love to hear from you.

Author: Anna Simet
Editor of Pellet Mill Magazine