software gauges supply, demand

By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted Sept. 17, 2008 at 2:36 p.m. CST LLC, a national distributor of biomass that specializes in wood pellets, has developed proprietary software that allows the company to gauge biomass demand and locate supply throughout the United States.

According to Steve Tate,'s director of marketing, the mapping software allows his company to identify areas of hot demand across the country and locate those with the best supply of fuel. The company can then coordinate the transportation of biomass in order to meet demand. "[The software] really helps us improve our efficiencies and transportation logistics," Tate said.

The company currently focuses on serving residential consumers. According to Tate,'s goal is to make it easy for homeowners to find, purchase and use pellet fuel in their homes. It does this by providing the most efficient way to move fuel from suppliers to the customer's home. Delivery methods can include home delivery, truckloads of fuel or pooling a shipment with other local customers.

To order fuel, residential consumers enter their zip code on's Web site and list the amount of fuel they would like to order. A quote is immediately returned to the customer listing the price for fuel and delivery. If the customer is satisfied with the quote, they can submit the order. calls the consumer to confirm the order and then ships the wood pellets.

The company has been in operation for three years. Tate said demand for the fuel has been ‘crazy.' Although mostly concentrated along the East Coast, the company has seen demand rising in other areas where fuel oil or propane are used to heat homes. "We also provide fuel to a lot of folks who are trying to get away from electric heat," Tate said.

Although the company focuses on residential use of wood pellets, they are also interested in supplying fuel for community-based heating projects. Tate recently took a trip to Austria to see how small towns are utilizing community heating systems. During the trip, he was able to see how their systems work and the kinds of equipment being used. "We're very interested in it, we just haven't come across a lot of demand for that yet," he said. is also working to move into the bulk market, where they will be able to provide bulk fuel to consumers and provide them with systems designed to move the fuel from their storage location into their appliances. exhibited at the Green Frontier Fest during the Democratic National Convention.