Saturday, July 25, 2009

News Letter August 2009

August 2009
Gerald W brown * 7202 County Road U * Danbury, WI 54830 Phone 715-866-8535
Gerald Brown is solely responsible for the content in this newsletter




• Rich's Home Promotes $1,500 Tax Credit on Wood Stoves, Pellet Stoves and Fireplaces




















Some of the fastest growing sources of renewable energy in the world are the wind, the sun -- and the lowly wood pellet.
European utilities are snapping up the small combustible pellets to burn alongside coal in existing power plants. As a global marketplace emerges to feed their growing appetite for pellets, the Southeastern U.S. is becoming a major exporter, with pellet factories sprouting in Florida, Alabama and Arkansas.

Fueling Europe
View Slideshow

Jason Henry for The Wall Street Journal
A hydraulic lift thrusts a tractor-trailer into the sky to dump a load of sawdust that will be used for production of wood pellets at Green Circle.
• More photos and interactive graphics
Wood pellets -- cylinders of dried shredded wood that resemble large vitamins -- are the least expensive way to meet European renewable-energy mandates, utility executives and industry consultants say.
Made from fast-growing trees or sawdust, pellets are a pricier fuel than coal, but burning them is a less-expensive way to generate electricity than using windmills or solar panels. Burning pellets releases the carbon that the trees would emit anyway when they die and decompose, so the process is widely regarded as largely carbon neutral. In contrast, carbon is locked away in coal and is only released once the coal is dug out of the earth and burned.
The wood-pellet market is booming because the European Union has rules requiring member countries to generate 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Europe imported €66.2 million (about $92.6 million) of pellets and other wood-based fuels in the first three months of 2009, up 62% from the same period a year earlier, according to the EU's statistical arm.

Government mandates are essential to the increasing use of pellets in power generation, and the growing global pellet trade, experts say.
"You are looking at a totally artificial market," said Christian Rakos, chief executive of Propellets, an Austria-based trade group of pellet producers. "No power plant would consider using pellets for one minute if they didn't have to do it."
Still, Europe's eagerness for more pellets has turned the U.S. into an energy exporter. Until recently, there were only about 40 pellet factories in the U.S., which produced about 900,000 tons a year, mostly for heating homes.
But in May 2008, Green Circle Bio Energy Inc. opened a pellet plant in Cottondale, Fla., that produces 500,000 tons of pellets a year; it ships them by rail to the coast and then on to Rotterdam, Netherlands. The company, owned by Swedish concern JCE Group AB, wants to build another big plant in the U.S., said Olaf Roed, chief executive of Green Circle.
Another 500,000-ton facility in Selma, Ala., owned by Dixie Pellet LLC, also opened last year. And Phoenix Renewable Energy LLC plans to break ground next month on a 250,000-ton-a-year pellet plant in Camden, Ark., along with a 20-megawatt power plant run off tree scraps that will feed heat to the pellet plant. The $100 million facility's output for five years has been contracted to go to Europe, and Phoenix is working on another five facilities.
Pellets can either be made out of sawdust left over from lumber production or from soft-wood trees such as pine. These aren't growing in wild forests, but in industrial plantations where they can be harvested easily and often.
Photo Journal
Jason Henry for The Wall Street Journal
Green Circle employees race to repair one of the pellet mill's dies that give the pellets their compacted cylindrical shape at the plant in Cottondale, Fla., July 1.
At Green Circle's Florida facility, bark is stripped off the tree and burned to generate steam used in making the pellets. The tree itself is cut up in a wood chipper, dried and hammered into a powder, which is formed into pellets under very high pressure.
It is easy for these pellet plants to find raw material. The pulp and paper industry is declining, and the housing slump has sapped the need for hardwood. Forest owners are ecstatic that pellet plants are stepping in.
"We are irrationally exuberant," said Lee Laechelt, executive vice president of the Alabama Forest Owners Association.
Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Vietnam are also shipping pellets to Europe, as are Canada and South Africa, said Helmer Schukken, CEO of GF Energy BV, a Rotterdam-based trader.
Wood pellets are becoming the newest global commodity, with prices posted on an Amsterdam energy exchange, Mr. Schukken said. "It is becoming like trading coal."
That will make it easier for England's Drax Group PLC, which is installing equipment at its giant 4,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant in North Yorkshire to use pellets in place of coal for up to 10% of the fuel. Pellet makers say Drax is lining up contracts in the U.S. Other big buyers include Dutch power company Essent NV, which is being acquired by Germany's RWE AG, and French GDF Suez SA's Electrabel unit.
Of course, U.S. utilities may soon be as interested as their European counterparts in burning pellets instead of coal. California, which has a goal of producing 33% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, is looking at using wood products in coal plants.
If a federal renewable energy standard is approved, "we won't be shipping pellets overseas," said Phoenix Renewable Energy's development director, Steve Walker. "We'll be shipping them domestically."
Write to Russell Gold at
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A4

7/6/2009 4:22:51 PM GMT

NEW YORK: Green Energy Resources (Pink Sheets: GRGR) has received two separate orders totaling 20,000 tons of wood pellets valued at US$28 million dollars over 12 months. The order is expected to commence late in 2009 and extend throughout 2010. The wood pellets are used in co-firing with coal to reduce green house gas emissions.

Last month, the company signed a 10 year domestic biomass supply contract valued at over US$300 million dollars. The contract contains provisions for monthly fuel adjustments and yearly inflation increases after supply commences in 2010. The power plant requirements exceed one million tons annually to upwards of 1.5 million tons.

Green Energy Resources sources its wood from urban wood waste streams, storm damage, cities and municipalities. The company is currently engaged in exports of wood chips to power plants in Europe

MONDAY, JULY 6, 2009
Massena pellet mill leading "green"
Curran Renewables in Massena started its first test run of wood pellet production last week. The plant, owned by Pat Curran - who also owns Seaway Timber Harvesting - will make up to 100,000 tons of wood pellets a year from wood scraps from the timber business.

The business garnered a national first recently when the Rainforest Alliance gave it green certification from the Forest Stewardship Council. From the press release:
With the increasing importance of biomass as a source of energy, businesses are recognizing the risks that could result from placing increased pressure on finite forest resources to fill the demand for their production," explains Dave Bubser, SmartWood regional manager for the Rainforest Alliance. "The FSC/Rainforest Alliance certification acts as a guarantee to consumers and producers that their efforts to promote energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not compromised by destructive impacts to forests, communities and wildlife that can result from overharvesting. Curran Renewable Energy's efforts establish FSC certification as a guide for balancing environmental and social values with the production of forest-based biofuels.
Pat Curran says he's been approached by more interested buyers since the certification was announced last week. But he's waiting to make commitments until the Massena plant goes into full production mode. He says that could happen by the end of the month.
posted by David Sommerstein @ 7/06/2009 10:04:00 AM

Rich's Home Promotes $1,500 Tax Credit on Wood Stoves, Pellet Stoves and Fireplaces
Rich's Home customers who purchase an energy-efficient wood or pellet stove, fireplace, or fireplace insert can claim a tax credit of up to $1,500 on their 2009 or 2010 federal income taxes.
Seattle, WA (PRWEB) July 9, 2009 -- Rich's Home customers who purchase an energy-efficient wood or pellet stove, fireplace, or fireplace insert can claim a tax credit of up to $1500 on their 2009 or 2010 federal income taxes.
The tax credit, part of the US government's Recovery Act, applies to 75 percent-efficient biomass burning stoves and can be used for the purchase and installation of the stove, venting, and hearthpads.
This new tax credit is a great way for consumers to save up to 30 percent on a wood stove or pellet stove purchase

This tax credit is an outstanding achievement for the biomass stove industry

We're cautiously optimistic that it will increase demand for the products.

"This new tax credit is a great way for consumers to save up to 30 percent on a wood stove or pellet stove purchase," says Jon Chapman, marketing manager for Lynnwood-based Rich's for the Home, the largest US retailer of wood stoves.
A homeowner who spends $3,000 on a stove, for instance, can claim a 30 percent tax credit - or $900 - on his or her federal income tax return, Chapman explains. The credit either increases the tax refund or decreases the tax bill, dollar-for-dollar.
The tax credit is good on all stove and fireplace brands Rich's for the Home carries, including Lopi, Hearthstone, Avalon, Morso, and Harman. People who purchase stoves will receive certification that the product qualifies for the tax credit.
"This tax credit is an outstanding achievement for the biomass stove industry," says Chapman. "We're cautiously optimistic that it will increase demand for the products."
Tax credit details:
 The credit applies only to existing principle residences.
 Taxpayers must retain the certificate of qualification for tax record keeping purposes, but the certification is not required to be attached to the tax return.
 Prior purchases made between January 1, 2009 and June 1, 2009 are covered if the manufacturer offers a certificate of qualification for the product.
The benefits of heating with biomass:
 Reduced heating costs - Wood and pellet prices fluctuate less than propane, oil, and natural gas.
 Green heating - Wood and pellet fuel is a carbon-neutral, renewable resource. Today's stoves produce more heat with less wood and are clean-burning, with less ash and minimal outside air emissions. They eliminate 75 percent of the carbon emissions associated with fossil fuel burning.

For complete details about the tax credit:
 IRS Notice 2009-53, Non-business Energy Property -
 Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association (HPBA) -

About Rich's for the Home:
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2009, Rich's for the Home is the largest retailer of wood stoves, hot tubs, and outdoor furniture in the United States. The family-owned business has five Puget Sound superstores: Lynnwood, Bellevue, Southcenter, Tacoma, and Silverdale or online at

by terryhallinan

Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 09:15:36 PM PDT
KALMAR, Sweden — Though a fraction of Chicago’s size, this industrial city in southeast Sweden has plenty of similarities with it, including a long, snowy winter and a football team the town’s crazy about.
One thing is dramatically different about Kalmar, however: It is on the verge of eliminating the use of fossil fuels, for good, and with minimal effect on its standard of living.
Kalmar is not the only "greenest city."
• terryhallinan's diary :: ::

Sweden's green role model city
The Swedish city of Växjö has reduced its emissions of carbon dioxide per inhabitant by nearly a quarter, and is aiming to go lower still. Now it has won a Sustainable Energy Europe Award for its environmental efforts.
On May 23, 1707 Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus was born in a village outside Växjö. Enormously influential as a botanist, he was also one of the first to preach sustainability. Today climate change and sustainable solutions are at the top of the global agenda, and Växjö is setting an example for the world to follow.

The city, set among forests and lakes in the south of Sweden, is on a mission to become totally fossil fuel-free. And it’s well on its way. Henrik Johansson, environmental controller at Växjö’s planning department, says: "More than 50 percent of the city’s total energy comes from renewable sources."
See here.
What is this green miracle in Sweden you think?
It is not solar though there is solar. It is not wind power though there are probably wind turbines. Nobody wants to freeze in the dark in Sweden with intermittent power.
It is not nukes though some think nuclear winter is a fine way to fight global warming.
It is not geothermal because Sweden is as reluctant to generate power from geothermal as Vermont.
A clue to solving the mystery can be found in a Swedish company in Florida:
Welcome to Green Circle
As the renewable energy sector is in its formative years of becoming a large scale industry, Green Circle has been established with the purpose of becoming a major player in the international market for alternative, carbon neutral energy.
Bio Green Circle does it with a plantation.
No not that kind of plantation. Rather a tree plantation. Bio Green Circle makes pine trees from its plantations into wood pellets and then ship them to Europe where they are co-fired with coal.
Hardly ideal. There is no real need for tree plantations with all the waste wood available IMO. Co-firing wood pellets with coal means you have a coal burning power plant.
But at least Europeans want to burn less coal unlike American companies that prefer the real unadulterated coal and plan to magically make it clean.
But now maybe you can see the answer to the riddle.
The Swedish green cities are burning wood.
Fancy that.
Lots of Americans seem not to have heard of such a thing. They dream of intermittent power doing it all, an updated national grid that isn't happening, massive increases in nuclear power with no Jackass Flats to store the waste forever and ever, solar satellites zapping power down to earthlings on radio beams, all manner of things.
But burning wood? Green?
You betcha.
And it's happening even in this backward land though it's an uphill struggle.


In a curious redefinition of renewable energy sources, European utilities are vastly increasing their imports of American-grown wood to burn in power plants in the form of wood pellets.
Renewable energy has most often been considered in the realm of wind-powered turbines and solar-paneled surfaces and in the promises of ocean tides and geo-thermal drilling operations. But European utility operators have brought forward another source - one might say a retro-source - in the combustion of wood pellets.

Wood-fired energy has been with us since the caveman days, and it is certainly curious that it is now considered to be a renewable energy source - by the most enlightened of energy-conscious societies.

The answer to this curiosity is found in the cheap production and usage associated with wood pellets.

"Wood pellets -- cylinders of dried shredded wood that resemble large vitamins -- are the least expensive way to meet European renewable-energy mandates, utility executives and industry consultants say," The Wall Street Journal reported.

Wood pellets are manufactured from fast-growing, low-value trees and from sawdust and other pulp waste.

"Burning pellets releases the carbon that the trees would emit anyway when they die and decompose, so the process is widely regarded as largely carbon neutral. In contrast, carbon is locked away in coal and is only released once the coal is dug out of the earth and burned," according to WSJ.

This is an artificial logic, but government mandates are dictating the use of wood pellets more broadly.

"You are looking at a totally artificial market," Christian Rakos, chief executive of Propellets, an Austria-based trade group of pellet producers, told WSJ. "No power plant would consider using pellets for one minute if they didn't have to do it."

But that is the way it has become with cap and trade implementation. The United States has effectively become an energy exporter through the distribution of wood products.

"We are irrationally exuberant," said Lee Laechelt, executive vice president of the Alabama Forest Owners Association, in the Wall Street Journal report.



Wood-pellet fuel has a new high-profile supporter: U2 frontman Bono is having a wood-pellet boiler installed at his mansion in Killiney, Ireland.

The Irish Independent reports that the rock star has been granted permission by the county council to develop a 173 square-foot room below the two-story residence for the new boiler. The mansion is located in a conservation area, but the council noted that it does not have protected structure status and the below-ground installation would not disrupt the area’s residential amenity.

SOURCE: The Irish Independent

2009-07-10 14:04:04 -
Pforzheim (pts/10.07.2009/13:50) - Wood pellets are increasingly the fuel of choice in new and renovated municipal buildings: According to the German Energy Pellets Association (DEPV), more and more municipalities are turning to pellet heating systems to provide heating for non-residential buildings such as schools, kindergartens or city halls. The German government's second economic stimulus package, along with further incentive programs,
provides municipalities with additional funding opportunities. "Thanks to financial incentives, the decision to replace heating systems as part of an energy efficient renovation has become much easier. The modernization of roofs, windows, façades and indeed heating systems also guarantees the economic operation of public buildings in the long term," states Horst Dufner, Interpellets 2009 Project Manager, in assessing the trend. At the Interpellets 2009 trade fair, municipal energy officers, architects and building services planners will be able to view the wide range of products, services and technical solutions currently offered by the wood pellets industry. Interpellets 2009 will take place from October 7-9 at the New Stuttgart Trade Fair Center.
Pellets present an attractive heating alternative, particularly for buildings such as civic centers, kindergartens, schools and city halls. The Gaienhofen-Horn fire department at Lake Constance, the Struwwelpeter children's day care center in Grünwald, near Munich, Bavaria, and Kempten's Cambomare leisure pool all have one thing in common: their heating requirements are provided by large wood pellet boilers. More and more municipalities now rely on this modern fuel to supply energy for their buildings. Last year the German Energy Pellets Association (DEPV) observed a trend towards larger heating systems with a thermal output of over 50 kilowatts. The majority of these are being employed in municipal and commercial projects.
Economically viable: pellets heating systems have a payback period of between five and eight years
The DEPV believes that savings in fuel costs and the ensuing short payback times are reasons to invest in pellet heating systems. In addition to the ecological arguments for using renewable energies, the use of wood pellets can also be economically advantageous: Municipalities can greatly reduce fuel costs when compared with fuel oil or natural gas, in some cases by up to 50 percent. Long-term energy costs can be more easily calculated since, unlike conventional energy sources, they are not subject to severe fluctuations in price. Moreover, expert opinion states that large pellet plants have a payback period of approximately five to eight years. "The larger the system a municipality invests in, the more economically viable it is," declares Horst Dufner. This is because boiler costs fall with each installed kilowatt of thermal output and the price advantage of the fuel is greater when large heat quantities are produced by bigger pellets heating systems.
Pellets heating systems can be adapted to suit different heating requirements in non-residential buildings
The planning of large pellets plants is complex: An efficient supply of fuel is necessary, and the removal of ashes and the pellets storage must be well thought-out. The pellets storage area should also not be too large. For practical reasons, experts recommend planning storage space for between 60 and 100 cubic meters of wood pellets. One bulk transporter carries approximately 40 cubic meters of pellets. With one and a half transporter loads the operator has sufficient time to order a new delivery once fuel supplies are running short. The user can also purchase one full transporter load and will therefore only require a smaller, more cost-effective store.
The various uses of the building are also important: Schools and kindergartens have different heating requirements to civic centers and exhibition halls for example. These heating requirements must be determined according to the relevant framework and in a clear and comprehensible manner. The wood boiler must then be designed to meet the heating requirements as closely as possible, so that it achieves the high capacity utilization required.
Large pellets heating systems enjoy state subsidies in many European countries
Large pellets heating systems enjoy state subsidies in many European countries. In Germany, biomass heating systems with an output of up to 100 kW automatically receive a subsidy under the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) market incentive program. Numerous regional incentive programs are also available.
Municipal energy officers as well as building services planners and architects require specialist, practical information during the decision-making and preparation phases of a renovation project. Training and current information relating to pellets technology are helpful during this process. The Interpellets 2009 international trade fair provides an overview of the range of products and services currently available in the pellets industry: it is an information platform covering all aspects of wood pellets technology. Manufacturers, dealers and suppliers from the pellets industry will meet at the New Stuttgart Trade Fair Center from October 7-9. Boilers and heaters in different performance categories will be on show at Interpellets 2009, alongside services and innovations in pellets technology. Around 500 trade experts are also expected to attend the accompanying 9th Pellets Industry Forum trade congress on October 6 and 7.
Organizers and supporters of Interpellets 2009 and the 9th Pellets Industry Forum:
The Interpellets 2009 trade fair and the 9th Pellets Industry Forum are organized by Solar Promotion GmbH, Pforzheim, Germany. Funding for the event is provided by the German Energy Pellets Association (DEPV) and the German Solar Energy Society (DGS).
Solar Promotion GmbH
Martin Pfränger / Horst Dufner
P.O.Box 100 170
75101 Pforzheim, Germany
Phone +49 (0)7231 / 58 59 8-0
Fax +49 (0)7231 / 58 59 8-28
Press contact:
Press office Interpellets 2009 and 9th Pellets Industry Forum
c/o pr.moebitz Gabriele Möbitz
Freiaustraße 58
79100 Freiburg, Germany
Phone +49 (0)761 / 881 49-84
Fax +49 (0)761 / 881 49-85


By Nick Sambides Jr.
BDN Staff

Despite filing for bankruptcy protection in Canadian and U.S. courts on June 18, the Toronto-based Fraser Papers states that the Madawaska mill will continue operations, as will the affiliated Katahdin Paper mill in East Millinocket. Fraser’s Edmundston, New Brunswick, facility, which is across the river from the Madawaska site, suspended operations in early June. Buy Photo

Brazil’s emergence as a leading pulp manufacturer and China’s as a papermaker. The crippling impact of high electricity costs. The downturn in the newspaper and magazine industries, the home building market and the continued uptick in paperless computer usage.
And, of course, the worst economic recession since the 1930s.
To the common eye, Maine’s forest products industry has been like a battered boxer for most of the last 20 years: hammered by layoffs, declining markets and international competition. But take a minute to peel away the recession and its impacts, and what’s left?
What within Maine’s largest and proudest manufacturing industry looks likely to survive, if not flourish, over the next five to 10 years?
Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC co-owner Keith Van Scotter, Maine Forest Products Council spokesman James Cote and University of Maine professor Habib Dagher spend most of their workweeks tackling that kind of question.
They agree that Maine’s rich forest products history, diverse mills and crops of hard and soft woods give it a foundation to create new products to dominate the post-recession world.
“This latest recession is really hitting us for a whack. Everybody has suffered through this downturn,” Van Scotter said. “That has been a fact of life, but if you look beyond it, the balanced integration of the industry will be its strong point.”
By percentage of its overall size, Maine is the state with the most land devoted to forestry and, by tonnage of trees turned into forest products, is the second-largest forest products state in the nation, Van Scotter said.
“I would not go so far as to say that the paper industry is just stringing along,” Cote said. “It was producing more paper than ever within the last couple of years.”
An investment banker he met in New York drew for Van Scotter an intriguing parallel.
“He said the paper industry today reminds him of the steel industry in 2001 — in terrible shape. Two-thirds of the industry was bankrupt,” Van Scotter said. “Then they went through an intense phase of restructuring and, from 2004 to ’07, had some tremendously good years.”
Speaking of bankruptcy, Fraser Papers began a court-supervised bankruptcy restructuring in Canada last month. The company said it lacks enough cash to meet its financial obligations. The list includes ongoing operating losses, a $25 million Canadian loan repayment due in September and $7.8 million in severance payments from the temporary shutdown of a Quebec pulp mill.
It also needs $10 million to help pay its suppliers and $7.7 million owed on municipal property taxes. Fraser blames weak lumber and pulp markets for its losses.
More generally, the recession is forcing mill managers to trim bureaucracy and old products. What remains, Van Scotter and Cote said, will sell. Those mills that survive will find new products.
UMaine scientists and engineers are working with more than 80 Maine companies to develop those products, Dagher said. An example: Louisiana Pacific invested $140 million in 2007 in its New Limerick mill to turn it into a laminated strand lumber facility making home-building products.
Laminated strand lumber is engineered wood that increases design flexibility and cuts labor costs.
“The biggest advantage with it is that you don’t need large saw timbers to produce large structural members. You can use smaller trees, low-value trees and wood wastes of just about any species,” Dagher said. “And the composite you make is two to three times stronger than the parent wood.
“This is the next generation of solid timbers for this state,” he said.
Correct Building Products LLC of Biddeford is the nation’s first manufacturer of polypropylene-based wood-plastic composites. The company’s decking boards are by weight equally sawdust and plastic. This technology should eventually replace pressure-treated wood as the home decking material of choice, Dagher said.
It’s not a new technology, but pellets are another fledgling enterprise. Maine has two large-scale pellet producers, according to the Pellet Fuels Institute, a nonprofit association that serves the industry. Corinth Wood Pellets LLC is in Corinth and Maine Woods Pellet Co. is in Athens. A third company, Northeast Pellets LLC, is in Ashland.
Van Scotter said pellet manufacturers might find New Hampshire, Vermont or New York more likely states in which to expand than Maine because they face less competition in those states for raw wood products. “They will go more towards where there is less wood usage,” he said.
RE-Gen LLC of Rockport announced plans late last month to create as many as 150 jobs in five years with a $20 million biomass furnace factory at the Huber Industrial Park in Millinocket that the company hopes to build next year. The 50,000-square-foot factory would employ welders, fabricators, service technicians and administrators to build Italian-designed, enviro-friendly biomass gasification furnaces capable of generating 700,000 to 5 million Btu.
The units would be large and efficient enough to heat schools, hospitals and office and apartment buildings for a fraction of the cost it takes to heat with No. 2 heating oil. Woodsmen would provide the very low-grade green waste wood chips (up to 80 percent moisture) that would burn in the ultra-high heat furnaces.
Another promising technology is at Old Town Fuel and Fiber, which will produce wood pulp for the papermaking industry and work closely with UMaine researchers to develop new technologies for converting pulp-processing waste into renewable biofuel.
Still on the drawing board: cellulose nanocomposites that break wood down to its nanostructure, and bioextractive technologies that use trees to produce base green chemicals that can be used in a number of applications, such as pharmaceuticals and bioresins. “The research we have done at the university is very positive,” Dagher said.
“The recession will not end tomorrow, but we don’t see the paper industry going away,” Cote said. “I think that the forest products industry continues to be resilient. If any industry can fight tough times and withstand downturns, this one can.”
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

FUEL FROM WOOD: Massena plant, working out kinks, seeks production boost
SUNDAY, JULY 12, 2009
MASSENA — After months of waiting, wood pellets slowly are beginning to come out of the Curran Renewable Energy plant.
Production was scheduled to begin in January, but it took longer to get the facilities up and running than expected, according to Patrick J. Curran, owner of Curran Renewable and Seaway Timber Harvesting.
The company's first pellets came off the line last week and were shipped to Quebec to be sold. The next day, the plant had to be shut down to work out some kinks, Mr. Curran said.
"We are producing pellets," he said. "I'm actually hoping at the end of this month we'll be running. Chances are we can get this thing running pretty good."
At full capacity, the plant will be able to produce as many as 14 tons of pellets an hour. Most of the time, it will be producing well over 8 tons an hour, according to Mr. Curran.
While 500,000-ton-a-year wood pellet plants are springing up in the South to meet the demand of European utility companies, Mr. Curran said he plans to sell his pellets in North America.
"I looked into exporting to Europe before we ever began building the plant," he said. "It just doesn't make sense. We are a nation that wants to go green and it doesn't make sense to export green energy."
His pellets will be sold in the region, and local people are being put to work making them.
Curran Renewable has 10 employees. Mr. Curran said that once things are running seamlessly, there are likely to be more, although he could not estimate how many more.
Originally, Mr. Curran was supposed to receive Empire Zone benefits from the state if he created enough jobs. However, after guidelines for inclusion in the program changed last year, Curran Renewable failed to qualify in March. Mr. Curran's business would not provide enough revenue for every dollar of tax benefits from the state, nor would it create enough jobs.
The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency has agreed to give the fledgling company tax benefits.
Under the agreement, the company will not pay property taxes for the first five years, then will pay only half of the taxes normally due for the next five years.
Despite losing state benefits, Mr. Curran said, he hopes to expand the business enough to be able to hire enough people to have the plant running three shifts a day.
"I'm going to hire as many people as I need," he said. "Providing the market is there, and I think it is, it'll be a pretty good opportunity for hours."
In addition to generating revenue, Mr. Curran said, the main purpose in opening the wood pellet business is to ensure that his workers at Seaway Timber Harvesting stay employed. Several, though he would not say how many, of his workers are laid off, and he wants to bring them back on the job. Seaway's staff will chop down trees to bring to the pellet-processing plant to keep that portion of the business running, he said.
As much as possible, Seaway Timber will be cutting down trees from forests that are certified by the Rainforest Alliance Program to be responsibly managed, meaning the forestry operations are in keeping with environmental and international regulations.
"We can't take every single bit of wood we harvest as (certified)," Mr. Curran said. "I'm going to purposely try to go after that fiber so our products can be sold as certified."
Monday, July 13, 2009 More From The Press-Register 2009 Alabama Live LLC. All Rights Reserved.
IT'S NICE to hear that one industry in Alabama might benefit from the anti-global warming legislation pending in Congress.
An Auburn University forestry expert said last week the state's timber industry could get a shot in the arm from the "cap-and-trade" bill, which would effectively tax carbon emissions and promote so-called green energy. Larry Teeter told the state Forestry Study Committee that "bioenergy might be the quickest cure for elements of the forest-products industry."
President Obama and his allies in the environmental movement like renewable energy sources like wood pellets and other forest products. They don't like the state's primary en ergy source — coal — and they mean to slowly tax coal-fired power plants out of existence.

The problem for Alabama, aside from, perhaps, the timber industry, is that cap-and-trade will put a cap on the state's economic growth by raising energy prices and eliminating jobs. Cap-and-trade's negative impact on the state explains why an unusual coalition of business and labor officials has formed to oppose the legislation.
The business-labor group estimates the cap-and-trade bill eventually would raise utility bills for residential customers and industries by more than $800 million a year. It would take a heckuva lot of wood pellets to make up for that crushing blow to the Alabama economy.

More investment as companies turn to wood pellets for energy
Benget Besalicto Tnb. , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 07/14/2009 10:12 AM | Business
As more businesses adopt environmentally friendly practices, demand for wood pellets as a source of renewable fuel is on the rise, a senior government official has said.
Hadi Daryanto, the director general for development of forest production at the Forestry Ministry, said recently that demand was being propped up by the increasing number of companies engaging
in the profitable carbon trading business.
“Demand will continue to rise and that’s why the wood pellet business is very promising,” he told The Jakarta Post.
Based on data from Wood Resources Quarterly, the latest market report released by international consulting company Wood Resources International, world production of wood pellets reached almost 10 million tons last year.
The company forecasts that total production will double in the next five years as more companies adopt green business practices and fossil fuel prices increase.
Europe is currently the biggest market for the wood pellets, which are mostly supplied by Canada. But as market in the United State surges due to the greener policies adopted by the Obama administration, the US will buy more wood pellets, taking supply from Europe.
As a result, the report said, Europe will seek other Asian, African, and Latin American sources.
A number of companies have reportedly sought renewable investment opportunities in the regions, particularly in Asia.
Hadi noted that Carbon Positive, a private company from the United Kingdom, has set up a joint venture with PT Usaha Tani Lestari, pledging to invest about Rp 1.8 trillion (US$176 million) to develop the renewable energy in Indonesia.
“They plan to develop about 160,000 hectares of production forests in West Nusa Tengara, East Nusa Tenggara and Papua. Their wood production from the forests will feed their wood-processing plant that they will build later,” he said.
Other foreign investors are attracted to Indonesia’s wood pellet industry, Hadi said. On of them is Korean based PT Taiyoung Engreen, which has pledged to invest Rp 3.9 trillion to develop production forests and wood pellet plants in Gunung Mas, Central Kalimantan, pending government approval.
“I think with such appeals, we’ll see more and more companies involved in forest-related green industries,” he said.

By Marissa Lang The Sacramento Bee

Published: Monday, Jul. 13, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves may be the last thing on most people's minds in July, but that's just what city officials want the public to start thinking about.
Come November, if you live in the area, you may be dealing with a newer, stricter set of rules when it comes to burning wood.
The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District is proposing an overhaul to Rule 421, which limits the use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces during the winter months on bad air days.
Starting this week, air quality officials will launch a series of five open forums where they will present the proposed changes. The air quality board wants people to weigh in with their comments and recommendations.
"With the current rule, we still have too many unhealthy days," said program supervisor Aleta Kennard.
"At these forums, we'll lay out what we've done with our analysis and what we're considering to change, and give the public an opportunity to respond."
The district wants to revamp its system, which currently allows some exceptions for burning on bad air days. It wants to create a program in which all burning would be prohibited – regardless of the type of stove or the material being burned.
Currently, Stage 1 of the "Check Before You Burn" program bans the use of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, unless they are pellet stoves or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified fireplace inserts or stoves. On Stage 2 days, burning any solid fuel, including wood, synthetic logs and pellets, is illegal.
"On a no-burn day you get a 22 percent reduction in particulate emission, while on a Stage 1 day, when you have exceptions, you only get about a 10 percent reduction," Kennard said.
Rather than a districtwide ban on all burning on those days, some retailers suggest that the district should focus on getting residents to use more environmentally friendly devices.
Mitchell Heller, owner of Custom Fireside, said the city is approaching the issue the wrong way.
He said government should crack down on open fireplaces, providing incentives for residents to use wood pellets or EPA-approved fireplace inserts or stoves.
"I'm not supporting this, because there are two options that they don't have on the table," Heller said. "One, leave the current system we have in place; or two, enact more severe restrictions and rules on open fireplaces, which will make people put in EPA or pellet stoves."
Heller said his customers are required by law to purchase EPA-certified inserts or pellet stoves. The clean-burning appliances emit from 2 to 7 grams of smoke per hour, while uncertified devices emit 60 to 80 grams of smoke per hour.
During the winter, wood smoke combined with calm weather conditions in Sacramento can make the air extremely unhealthy and potentially dangerous, said Brigette Tollstrup, the air quality district's division manager.
"When you burn, you emit particulates," Tollstrup said. "And in the wintertime, we get those calm cool nights where … the smoke gets trapped low to the ground, causing really bad air."
Officials say exposure to air laden with smoke particulates worsens existing asthma, increases the likelihood of stroke and heart attacks in postmenopausal women, causes chronic bronchitis, and poses a particular threat to children, who take in more air in relation to their size than adults do.
In addition to particulate problems, Sacramento is also ranked seventh-worst in the nation for ozone pollution, according to the American Lung Association.
The air board declares an average of 23 no-burn days per season.
Air quality officials said that if their proposal is approved, the number of complete no-burn days could increase to 31.
That, they said, would ultimately lead to more clean-air days in the future.

DOE and the U.S. Department of Treasury issued guidance last week on the process for renewable energy project owners to receive direct federal payments in lieu of tax credits. Most large renewable energy projects are eligible to receive federal tax credits, and prior to the economic downturn, it was common for such projects to receive financing from third parties that would benefit from the tax credits. But with most companies now earning lower profits and expecting to pay lower taxes, that tax-credit financing has dried up, making it more difficult to take advantage of the tax credits. To address that issue, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorized the Treasury Department to make direct payments to companies that create renewable energy facilities and place the facilities in service on or after January 1, 2009. See the February 18 article from this newsletter on this aspect of the Recovery Act.
The Treasury Department has set aside $3 billion in Recovery Act funds for the direct payments, sufficient to support an estimated 5,000 facilities using biomass energy, solar energy, wind power, and other types of renewable energy. The agency is not yet accepting applications for the direct payments, but by releasing the guidance documents now, the Treasury Department aims to give businesses ample time to prepare their applications. The agency intends to launch a Web-based application process in the coming weeks. See the DOE press release and the terms and conditions, guidance, and a sample application for the direct payments on the Treasury Department Web site.



After months of delay, the Curran Renewable Energy plant in Massena, N.Y., has begun shipping its first output of wood pellets.

The Watertown Daily Times reports that production from the plant was originally scheduled to begin in January, but problems in getting the facility ready delayed operations until this month. The first wood-pellet shipments rolled out of the plant last week for a Quebec client. However, the plant had to be shut down the following day.

"We are producing pellets," says Patrick J. Curran, owner of Curran Renewable and Seaway Timber Harvesting. "I'm actually hoping that at the end of this month, we'll be running. Chances are, we can get this thing running pretty good."

SOURCE: Watertown Daily Times

Wood pellet plant on hold now

By Jim Cox Editor & Publisher
Clarke County's economic developer said the poor economy had stalled the new wood pellet plant to be built in Jackson but she told commissioners Tuesday that she is still hopeful that the facility will be built. Debra Bolen said, "The Dixie Green wood pellet plant has been put on hold.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Business Reporter
A proposed wood pellet plant in Jackson, Ala., has been indefinitely delayed, as owners have yet to raise the $118 million needed to build the 100-job project, said Debra Bolen, executive director of the Clarke County Economic Development Partnership.
"It is still in an ongoing state, it's just that construction has not begun," she said Wednesday. "It's my understanding they're still working on the financing."
Evan Bates, the chief executive of New Gas Concepts, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The worldwide financial crisis crippled the borrowing ability of many businesses beginning last fall. Bolen said there's no new date set for building to begin.
The plant would make 600,000 tons of pellets a year from sawdust, wood chips, branches and other leftovers from sawmills and loggers.
European power companies are burning pellets in an attempt to cut carbon dioxide emissions, and a number of pellet mills have been built or proposed in the Southeast to feed Europe's growing demand.
New Gas Concepts Inc. announced its plans in February 2008. Since then, the site has been cleared and graded using a $500,000 loan from the city of Jackson and part of a $500,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, said Bolen and Jeff Miller, Jackson city administrator.
Plans have been drawn for an access road and water and sewer connections to the site off Alabama 177 on Jackson's south side, Bolen said.
New Gas Concepts also led the construction of the $75 million Dixie Pellets plant in Selma. That plant was financed in part by a $70 million, 18-month loan from an arm of French bank Credit Agricole SA, according to a July 2008 statement by the bank.
Bates told the Clarke County Democrat last year that New Gas Concepts had sold its interest in the Selma mill.
Harbert Power Fund III, an investment fund managed by Harbert Management Corp. of Birmingham, owned 86 percent of the Selma plant as of Dec. 31, 2008, according to Harbert Management's annual report. Harbert could not be reached Wednesday.
New Gas Concepts had sought to lease a warehouse at the state docks in Mobile for 10 years at $480,000 a year. Alabama State Port Authority directors approved the lease in January, but New Gas Concepts never moved forward and docks spokeswoman Judith Adams said officials haven't heard from the company in four months.

17 July 2009

Plantation Energy, Australia’s largest manufacturer and exporter of wood pellets, has signed a three-year AUD 60 million (€34 million) supply agreement with Essent Trading, an international merchant energy trading company based in Switzerland.

The agreement between Plantation Energy and Essent Trading comes only days after the company announced its first export deal, with Electrabel, a subsidiary of GdF-Suez, Europe’s largest power company.

Plantation Energy manufactures and exports clean renewable energy in the form of wood pellets made from non-commercial plantation forest residues. Initial exports will be shipped from Albany, Western Australia, where the first of several planned pellet manufacturing facilities is already in operation.

Wood pellets are used extensively in Europe, where they are burned with coal in coal-fired power stations. Demand for pellets exceeded 8 million tonnes in 2008 and is expected to top 16 million tonnes by 2014.

Plantation Energy is backed by leading US-based global private equity firm Denham Capital, which in October 2008 announced an equity investment of up to US$ 80 million in the company.

Saturday, July 18, 2001909

Volume 21, Issue 29

By Tom Klein

Orr councilors okayed preliminary work to bring a wood pellet producer and as many as 60 jobs to Orr.
Councilors agreed Monday to contract with Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) for the services, which will include identifying permit requirements, developing a project schedule, evaluating potential sites for the plant and seeking funding for the project. Cost for SEH’s services will be $5,000 with additional fees if SEH proceeds on applications for funds.
The project was brought to the Orr City Council’s table by the city’s Economic Development Council, which has done some legwork already investigating the project’s viability, including a visit to the developer’s operation in Grand Rapids.
According to EDC member Bill Arthur, the developer wants to expand his operations to respond to growing demand for wood pellets. The plant would also produce animal bedding material. Orr Mayor Dale, who is also on the EDC, said an estimated 35 jobs would be created at the pellet plant and another 25 jobs would be added at a related sawmill.
Arthur said the project had reached a point where expert analysis was required.
SEH economic development specialist Mike Larson, who spent more than 25 years with the Iron Range Resources agency, said the work performed by SEH would help prepare Orr for the project if it proceeds, but also provide valuable information that could be utilized for other development projects should this not move forward.
Both Brian Bruns and Doran Klakoski urged the council to proceed, noting that a delay could lose an opportunity for Orr.
Although councilors initially discussed proceeding only with the first phase of project planning at a cost of $1,000, Arthur urged the council to approve all three stages, noting that there would be an overlap of tasks and it would position the city to respond more quickly if the project moves forward. He added that if any red flags emerged during the process, the work could be stopped.
“We’ve got a nice tailwind on this project,” said Arthur, in urging the council to act.
Councilors approved the contract with SEH on a 3-0 vote with councilors Bruce Black and Ericka Cote absent. Councilor Jon Long requested that SEH provide monthly updates on its work, which Larson agreed to do.
In the meantime, the EDC will continue its investigation of the project’s viability with assistance from the Iron Range Resources agency. The IRR may also be able to provide some funds to assist with the city’s preliminary work on the project.

July 19, 2009 10:15:00 AM
By DANIEL CARSON / News Herald Writer
The News Herald - Panama City,FL,USA
STEELE CITY — Greg Martin has worked in the pulp and paper industry for almost 30 years, and he said that any new plant goes through tweaks and refininements of its production processes as it gets up to speed.
It has been a little more than a year since Green Circle Bio Energy opened its 225-acre wood pellet plant, touted as the world’s largest, in Jackson County.
After working through some early kinks, the plant is steadily moving toward full capacity, said Martin, who has worked as the plant manager at Green Circle’s Steele City facility since January.
"We’re kind of settling in for the long haul," he added.
Reaching full capacity
Olaf Roed, Green Circle President and CEO, said the plant currently produces pellets at a rate of 400,000 metric tons per year.
"We are on track to reach full capacity by the end of the year." Roed said.
Full capacity for the plant is 500,000 metric wood pellet tons.
A view from the plant’s peak, at 200 feet one of the highest points in Jackson County, reveals row after row of harvested trees, towering piles of bark and wood chips, and room for possible expansion inside Green Circle’s expansive site.
As the world’s largest wood pellet production plant, the Green Circle plant takes in 150 truck loads of wood a day to keep the pellets flowing to Port Panama City and, ultimately, to Europe.
Martin said the Green Circle plant has a core group of 8 to 10 wood suppliers, with the majority of its wood coming from a 50-mile radius.
He said that a tall stick of wood enters the Steele City facility on the back of a truck and it takes about 10 days to debark, chip, dry and pulverize a single tree into wood pellets.
The company, a subsidiary of Swedish corporation JCE Group AB, chose Jackson County as the site for its production plant in February 2007.
After preliminary testing, the plant started production in April 2008, with the 225-acre facility being touted as a new green industry for the region and an economic development boost for Jackson County.
Jackson County Administrator Ted Lakey said that, overall, the plant had exceeded the county’s expectations.
Lakey said he was sure the plant had also helped local logging and timber companies.
"It’s created a market for their trees," Lakey said.
Jackson County Development Council executive director Bill Stanton estimated that the plant’s opening had created about 150-to-200 new jobs in the region, with support industries like timber and trucking gaining the most from Green Circle’s operation.
‘A nice percentage’
Stanton noted that Jackson County is not the only Northwest Florida county reaping the benefits from Green Circle’s plant.
"Panama City and Bay County are getting a nice percentage of it," Stanton said.
Green Circle and Port Panama City officials reached an agreement in 2006 where the port agreed to build a multi-million dollar, 80,000-square-foot storage warehouse for the pellets.
The company initially guaranteed it would ship at least 350,000 pellet tons annually, although Green Circle and the port amended their contract in October 2008 and agreed to calculate their wood pellet volumes on a May 1 to April 30 annual timetable.
Port executive director Wayne Stubbs estimated that the wood pellet trade had generated $1.75 million in revenues for the port during the first contract year.
The pellet-related revenue has come in handy, Stubbs said, as the port faces a general cargo slowdown created by the recessionary global economy.
Stubbs said that the port’s general cargo numbers, which included copper, paper, containers and steel, were down 20 percent from the same time period in 2008.
Money generated from the wood pellet traffic produced about 15 percent of the port’s revenues from May 2008 to May 2009, Stubbs said.
"I think it’s worked out. It’s had some challenges," Stubbs said, adding, "We’re really happy to be where we are in this new trade."
Since the port opened its pellet warehouse, its main challenge has involved controlling dust created by the wood, Stubbs said.
Inquiries about the warehouse have come from businesses interested in exporting wood and peanut shell pellets to Europe, Stubbs said, as well as from other ports and terminal operators exploring the feasibility of building their own storage warehouses.
"It seems our facility is considered a state-of-the-art facility for wood pellets at this point," Stubbs said.
Martin said the Steele City plant has generated its fair share of international media interest, with visits to the facility ranging from a Korean television documentary crew to the Wall Street Journal.
Stanton said the plant’s arrival in Jackson County had also raised the county’s profile with various business interests.
"I can’t begin to tell you how much activity we’ve developed as a direct result of that project," Stanton said.

July 20, 2009 05:45 EDT
2009, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Inc.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Gov. John Baldacci will attend the announcement of plans for a wood pellet manufacturing plant to be built in Burnham.

International WoodFuels of Portland says its plant will create up to 35 new jobs and produce up to 100,000 tons of premium pellets annually. The company says it wants to help to reduce the consumption of imported fossil fuels for large facilities throughout New England through renewable energy.

The announcement of plans for the wood pellet plant will be Tuesday in Portland.

Thank you Ms Linda Limback for this story: Research Coordinator State Energy Office MN Office of Energy Security
ScienceDaily (July 16, 2009) — The stress of rising natural gas prices is leading many consumers to rethink how they heat their homes. For some this means moving towards modern alternative energy options, while others have been turning to a more traditional method for a solution to these rising costs. In Canada and the United States, wood burning stoves have been reevaluated as a potentially viable option for home heating.
The case for modern woodstoves has developed with the improvement of the products on the market, as wood heating technology has substantially advanced in recent years. With the advanced secondary combustion systems on Environmental Protection Agency certified woodstoves, they are now 95% more efficient than their predecessors.
Dr. Paul Grogan, a plant and ecosystem ecologist and Canadian Research Chair (II) at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario conducted a case study on the benefits of woodstoves with the help of final-year undergraduate and first year graduate students. He determined that adding a woodstove to the home can help both consumers heating costs as well as the environment. The results were published in the latest edition of the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.
The environmental sustainability of woodstove use is dependent upon the consumption of wood from sustainably managed woodlots, as the carbon released is reused as the next generation of trees grows. Annual gross CO2 emissions did in fact increase from 12,610 kg (i.e., ~2.5 metric tons CO2/person per year) to 17,330 kg after the installation of the wood stove. But while this gross amount did increase, the net carbon released by the combustion is negligible, the only surplus coming from the harvest and transport. Based on an average growing time of 130 years before harvest for local Ontario tree species, a woodlot or forest 3.5 hectares in size would provide an indefinite supply of wood heat for a household without a net increase in carbon emissions.
In the case study, adding a woodstove to the ground floor of a 3200ft2 home reduced the mean annual gas cost by 60%; from $2260 to $880. The annual cost of the wood fuel for the woodstove amounted to $1330 for 5 full cords (a cord is 8 feet long by 4 feet high by 4 feet wide - 128ft3 ). This was a yearly savings of $50 at market fossil fuel prices of 2005-2007 without taking into account rising fossil fuel prices or the impending carbon tax. Should these variables come into play Dr. Grogan estimated that the domestic heating costs would be reduced by 25%. This translates into a potential savings of $920 in the first 3 years.
Adapted from materials provided by American Society of Agronomy, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Portland Press Herald 07/21/2009
A Portland company will discuss its plans this morning to build a $20 million wood pellet manufacturing plant that will help keep the world's largest wooden golf tee factory operating in Maine.
International WoodFuels LLC expects to break ground in September for a 100,000-ton-per-year pellet plant next to Pride Manufacturing Co. LLC in Burnham, south of Pittsfield.
Further details are expected at a news conference to be held at the Ocean Gateway building in Portland.
The partnership will have multiple benefits. It will help save 145 existing jobs at a wood-products firm that has operated in the state since 1956. It also will create 35 new jobs in the renewable energy field, producing a home-grown fuel aimed at loosening the state's dependence on imported oil. Additional jobs are likely to be created in logging and trucking.
The wood pellets are expected to be sold locally to meet growing demand, according to Steven Mueller, the president of International WoodFuels.
"There's not a single pellet made in my plant that will leave the state of Maine," Mueller said.
The plant's start-up is scheduled for next June. It will be the fifth wood pellet plant built in Maine. Wood will be harvested in a sustainable manner and trucked from within a two-hour drive of Burnham. The company will need 200,000 tons a year of whole logs to operate the pellet mill at full capacity.
That tonnage is roughly five times greater than what's now coming into Pride Manufacturing. The added volume, and the sharing of a log yard, for instance, will help Pride save money on wood purchasing. The savings are important, according to Randy Dicker, senior director of manufacturing at Pride, because the company's profitability has been undermined in recent years by a flood of imported golf tees from China.
"The synergies this opportunity creates will allow us to remain in central Maine for years to come," Dicker said.
Pride moved from Florida to Maine in 1956, first making wooden cigar tips. The tips are still part of the business, but the dominant product is golf tees made from white birch and white maple -- hundreds of millions a year.
"This is going to strengthen a business that has a long history in Maine," Dicker said.
International WoodFuels and Pride were brought together by Maine & Co., the private corporation that helps companies that want to grow or locate in the state.
"It seemed that there was an opportunity for someone who could use the scrap wood that Pride was providing," said Matt Jacobson, Maine & Co.'s president.
Jacobson, who is running for governor in 2010, said co-locating companies that can help each other save money is an important business strategy that can be duplicated elsewhere.
"If people can keep their jobs and be more efficient, that's how Maine is going to go forward and be more competitive," he said.
Some of the pellets from the plant eventually will be used to help heat space and water at the high school in MSAD 61, which includes Naples, Bridgton, Casco and Sebago.
In a broad sense, the construction of a fifth pellet plant in Maine will diversify supply and offer a broader selection, said William Strauss, an economist and member of the Maine Pellet Fuels Association. The plant also will help supply what Strauss sees as a growing market for wood pellets.
"I believe there's plenty of demand," he said.

By admin on Thng By 20, 2009

Tokyo, Sept 24, 2008 (JCN Newswire) Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) has acquired 45% of Vis Nova Trading GmbH (VNT), a German company and major player in the bio-pellet business. With this acquisition, MC hasmade a strong commitment to the European bio- pellets market, which is expected to growrapidly in the near future.

Bio-pellets are a kind of carbon neutral fuel, made from unused biomass, such as woodchips. The biomass is compressed and molded into small, cylindrical pellets. Co-firing with bio-pellets and thermal coal has proved effective in reducing CO2 emissions at coal-fired power stations. With an aim to combat global warming, the EU has committed to raising the proportion of power generated by renewable energies to 20% by 2020 (for thewhole of the EU). At present, each country generates around 5-15% of its power throughrenewable energy. The bio-pellet market has seen annual growth of around 20% over thelast few years. In 2020, the demand for bio-pellets is expected to increase from its currentsix million tons, to over 40 million tons.

VNT owns and operates a manufacturing facility that produces some 120,000 tons of the pellets per year, as well as several distribution bases in Germany. Each year VNT supplies about 180,000 tons of the pellets, mainly to electric power companies in the EU. VNT plans to build a few other factories, aiming to reach 500,000 tons in sales and establish a production system in Germany by 2010.

MC invested 5.625 million euros (equivalent to 45% of VNT shares) and intends to be
actively involved in the companys management. MC will contribute to VNT as a partner and cooperate on the planning, financing, and marketing to expand the bio-pellet business. In the future, MC hopes to see VNT develop into a benchmark supplier of bio pellets within the European market.

In addition, MC foresees potential pellet demand in Japan, and has established Forest Energy HITA Co, Ltd., and Forest Energy Kadogawa Co, Ltd., pellet manufacturers in Ooita and Miyazaki respectively, each with an yearly output of 25,000 tons. In this fashion, MC is promoting the bio-pellet business in Japan and placing VNT at the core of this business in Europe. Anticipating significant global growth in this renewable energy field, MC also plans to set up bio-pellet manufacturing plants in North America, South America, and Asia, creating a truly worldwide supply network. The companys aggressive push should prove a very positive effort to stem global warming.

Outline of the company
Company name: VIS NOVA Trading GmbH
Head office: Bremen, Germany
Share ratio: VIS NOVA GmbH 55%Mitsubishi Corporation 45%
Business: trading and manufacturing for wood pellet
Sales: 180,000 tons p.a.
Subsidiary: Holzkontor und Pelletierwerk Schwedt GmbH(HPS)

About Mitsubishi Corporation

Mitsubishi Corporation (TSE: 8058; ADR: MSBHY) is Japans largest general trading company (sogo shosha) with over 200 bases of operations in approximately 80 countries worldwide. Together with its over 500 group companies, Mitsubishi Corporation employs a multinational workforce approximately 55,000 people. The Group has long been engaged in business with customers around the world in virtually every industry, including energy, metals, machinery, chemicals, food and general merchandise. Mitsubishi Corporations commitment to social responsibility is embodied in its corporate philosophy and demonstrated through its extensive programme of cultural, environmental and educational projects worldwide. For more information, please visit .



The Wild Center, a museum located in Tupper Lake, N.Y., has announced that it will install a wood-pellet boiler integrated with a solar tube hot water system that will supply much of the hot water required to heat its 54,000 square-foot facility.

According to the museum, the new boiler system will represent the first commercial-sized, gasification wood-pellet boiler of its kind and size manufactured and installed in New York state. The 1.7 million Btu boiler unit will be in The Wild Center's basement boiler room, next to its existing propane boiler. The pellets will be stored in an outdoor container next to the administration wing of the museum.

"This innovative renewable heating and hot water system dovetails perfectly with The Wild Center's Silver LEED certification," says Chris Rdzanek, manager of museum facilities. "From the museum's inception, green building practices have been at the forefront of every decision that we make."

SOURCE: The Wild Center


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