Posted in Lignetics on December 10, 2013 by Administrator
By Erin Voegele Biomass Magazine
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the December issue of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting that energy production from wood biomass and waste biomass will increase next year.
According to the STEO, wood biomass is expected to be used to generate 111,000 megawatt hours (MWh) per day of energy a
cross all sectors next year, up from 105,000 MWh per day this year. In 2012, wood biomass was used to produce 103,000 MWh per day.
The EIA predicts waste biomass will be used to generate 56,000 MWh per day of electricity in 2014, up from 54,000 MWh per day this year. Last year, waste biomass was used to generate 54,000 MWh of electricity per day.
The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.218 quadrillion Btu (quad) of wood biomass next year, up from 0.187 quad this year. The sector is also forecast to consume 0.261 quad of waste biomass in 2014, up from 0.250 quad this year.
The industrial sector is predicted to consume 1.232 quad of wood biomass next year, down slightly from 1.284 quad this year. The consumption of waste biomass is also expected to fall from 0.174 quad this year to 0.170 quad next year.
The EIA predicts the commercial sector will consume 0.063 quad of wood biomass next year, up from 0.062 quad this year. Waste biomass consumption is expected to hold steady next year at the 2013 consumption level of 0.046 quad.
The residential sector is forecast to consume 0.414 quad of wood biomass, down slightly from 0.420 quad this year.
During the 2013-’14 winter, the EIA predicts 2.648 million households will rely on wood as a primary heating fuel, up 2.5 percent from last winter, when 2.582 million households used wood as a primary heating fuel.
In the West region of the U.S., 750,000 households are expected to use wood as a primary heating fuel, up 1.1 percent from last year. In the South, 632,000 homes are expected to rely on the fuel as a primary heat source, up 3 percent from last winter. The use of wood is expected to remain at last winter’s 632,000 home rate in the Midwest. The use of wood will increase most significantly this winter in the Northeast, where 632,000 households are expected to use wood as a primary heating fuel, up 6.6 percent from last winter.
View the original article and link to the chart here
Posted in Lignetics on November 26, 2013 by Administrator
By Anna Simet, Biomass Magazine
In some areas, pellet stoves are selling faster than wood stoves, and that’s for a few reasons, one of which is the complexity of cordwood.
At the Wood Stove Decathalon in Washington, D.C., Nov. 16-19, a panel of experts discussed growth of residential pellet heating, some pros and cons, as well its current role in U.S. renewable energy generation.
John Crouch, Pellet Fuels Institute director of public affairs, discussed the varying properties of cordwood and how pellets offer consumers a more uniform fuel. “There are differences between species [of cordwood]—hardwood and softwood—and even just species of hardwood alone, “Crouch said. “This piece of fuel even varies in moisture and density within itself. We know, for instance, you can move the pins on the moisture meter just a few inches and get a 2 to 3 percent difference in the same piece of fuel. That’s part of what makes the stove so challenging, is the fuel is infinitely variable.”
People began reconstituting sawdust for energy purposes around 20 years ago, he said, into a more predictable fuel—pellets.
Panel speaker Richard Thomas of Courtwood Hardware, who has been active in the pellet industry since inception, has sold more pellet stoves than any other individual in the U.S., Crouch said.
Thomas said he has been heating his own home with pellets since 1988, and Courtwood has 10,000 active pellet stove customers. Being that one ton of pellets equals 2.8 barrels of oil, last year his company prevented 25,000 barrels of oil from being consumed in Maryland. “Nationally, we’re [the U.S.] using about 2 million tons of pellets per year, and that’s replacing about 5.6 million barrels of oil,” he said.
Thomas noted that appliance installation is simple and inexpensive, and pellet stoves are generally very safe and easy to use and operate. “You can put them in any area of your house where you want to be comfortable so you don’t have to raise the thermostat and temperature of your entire house. But we do have pellet boilers and furnaces that can heat a whole house, 3,000 square feet.”
There are many homeowners in Maryland who are spending three times more to heat their house with electricity than they would with pellets, Thomas added. “We are selling appliances than can heat homes very efficiently, actually ending up in savings as much as $400 per month.”
Pellets cost approximately $15.97 per MMBtu, compared to cordwood, which runs at about $13.33 per MMBtu, according to Thomas.
Following Thomas, Steven Faehner, American Wood Fibers vice president of industrial and bioenergy sales, touched on the company’s history in the pellet industry, which it has been involved in for about 10 years. “We’ve been in business since 1966, and have sold wood and other fibers as fuel long before it was biomass, way before it was famous or sexy,” he said.
American Wood Fibers processes about 500,000 tons of wood per year, according to Faehner, and has three pellet manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, Virginia and Ohio.
Pellets are a very historic and stable product, Faehner emphasized, as the prices don’t fluctuate dramatically and have not varied much over the last 15 to 20 years. “We’re selling pellets for ten dollars less per ton that it was five years ago,” Thomas added.
Though about roughly 53 percent of renewable energy in America comes from biomass in general, Faehner said that isn’t commonly known. “We haven’t gotten the message out, and it’s not promoted enough. We displace an awful lot of fuel [oil].”
Faehner concluded with touching on sustainability issues, pointing out that there is too much caution when it comes to using biomass resources for energy in the U.S., which can have negative consequences, particularly when it comes to fighting forest fires. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” he said. “If you look at the numbers—growth verses harvest over the last 55 years—the statistics and resources we have, I don’t know that there’s a better argument [for biomass fuel].”
Posted in Lignetics on November 11, 2013 by Administrator
By Alliance for Green Heat | October 10, 2011
Recently released U.S. Census figures show the number of households heating with wood grew 34 percent between 2000 and 2010, faster than any other heating fuel. Electricity showed the second fastest growth, with a 24 percent increase over the past decade.
In two states, households using wood as a primary heat source more than doubled—Michigan (135 percent) and Connecticut (122 percent). And in six other states, wood heating grew by more than 90 percent—New Hampshire (99 percent), Massachusetts (99 percent), Maine (96 percent), Rhode Island (96 percent), Ohio (95 percent) and Nevada (91 percent).
Census data also shows that low- and middle-income households are much more likely to use wood as a primary heating fuel, making low- and middle-income families growth leaders of the residential renewable energy movement. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential wood heat accounts for 80 percent of residential renewable energy, solar 15 percent and geothermal 5 percent.
“Heating with wood may not be hip like solar, but it’s proving to be the workhorse of residential renewable energy production,” said John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat, a nonprofit organization based in Maryland.
The rise of wood and wood pellets in home heating is driven by the climbing cost of oil, the economic downturn and the movement to use renewable energy. The Census Bureau does not track the reason people switch fuels but in states like Maine and New Hampshire where rising oil prices are squeezing household budgets, it is clear that many families simply feel the need to cut heating costs.
“The rise of wood heat is good news for offsetting fossil fuels, achieving energy independence, creating jobs and helping families affordably heat their homes,” Ackerly said. “However, wood heat’s rapid rise is not just from people using clean pellet and EPA certified wood stoves. Many people are also dusting off old and inefficient stoves and in some states installing outdoor boilers that create too much smoke.”
Over the past decade, the number of households using two of the most expensive heating fuels significantly declined: propane dropped 16 percent and oil heat dropped 21 percent. Some of those homes undoubtedly switched to wood. Switching from fossil fuels to commercially purchased wood heat can reduce a home’s heating bills by half or more. Those who cut or collect their own wood save much more, using their labor to zero out heating bills.
Currently about 25 percent to 30 percent of the 12 million stoves in the U.S. are clean burning pellet stoves or EPA certified wood stoves, according to the EPA and other sources. Americans have installed about 1 million pellet stoves since the 1980s when they were invented.
Wood now ranks third in the most common heating fuels after gas and electricity for both primary and secondary heating fuel use, but ranks fifth, after oil and propane as well, when only primary heat fuel is considered. As of 2010, 2.1 percent of American homes, or about 2.40 million households, use wood as a primary heat source, up from 1.6 percent in 2000. About 10 percent to 12 percent of American households use wood when secondary heating is counted, according to the Census Bureau and the EIA.
The rapid rise in wood heat as a primary heating fuel is mainly a rural phenomenon, and to a lesser extent a suburban trend. According to the U.S. census, 57 percent of households who primarily heat with wood live in rural areas, 40 percent in suburban areas and only 3 percent in urban areas.
Posted in Lignetics on November 05, 2013 by Administrator
After the unusually warm and snowless winter of 2011–2012, many people questioned if winter could make a comeback. Well it did. Last winter was cold and especially snowy.
So, what’s in store for this winter? The “Days of Shivery” are back!
For 2013–2014, we are forecasting a winter that will experience below average temperatures for about two-thirds of the nation. A large area of below-normal temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to the Appalachians, north and east through New England. Coldest temperatures will be over the Northern Plains on east into the Great Lakes. Only for the Far West and the Southeast will there be a semblance of winter temperatures averaging close to normal, but only a few areas will enjoy many days where temperatures will average above normal.
Precipitation-wise, the Southern Plains, Midwest, and Southeast will see above-normal conditions, while the rest of the country will average near normal. With a combination of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation the stage will be set for the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Central and Northern New England to receive lots of snow. Farther south, where the thermometer will be vacillating above or below the freezing mark, Southern New England, Southeast New York, New Jersey, and down through the Mid-Atlantic region will be seeing either copious rains and/or snows.
And yet, the Pacific Northwest (or is it “northwet?”) where indeed wet weather is almost a given during the winter months, the overall winter season could average out drier than normal.
Significant snowfalls are forecast for parts of every zone. Over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, we are “red-flagging” the first ten days of February for possible heavy winter weather. More importantly, on February 2, Super Bowl XLVIII will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey’s Meadowlands—the very first time a Super Bowl will be played outdoors in a typically cold weather environment. We are forecasting stormy weather for this, the biggest of sporting venues. But even if we are off by a day or two with the timing of copious wind, rain, and snow, we wish to stress that this particular part of the winter season will be particularly volatile and especially turbulent.
And mid-March could bring a wave of storminess stretching almost from coast to coast, bringing a wide variety of precipitation types as well as strong and gusty winds.
Posted in Lignetics on October 29, 2013 by Administrator
Lignetics is pleased to announce that in September, it was designated as a Premium fuel producer by Conway and Robinson of Sharpsburg GA, which have been approved by the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) Board of Review as an accredited third party auditing agency under the new Pellet Fuel Institute graded fuel program.
All three of Lignetics facilities qualified for this exceptional status, currently shared by just four total facilities nationwide. These include the Kootenai, Idaho plant, the Kenbridge, Virginia facility and the Linn West Virginia location.
To be awarded this important designation, Lignetics is in compliance with the Pellet Fuel Institute’s (PFI) Standard Specifications for Residential/Commercial Densified Fuel and the PFI Pellet Fuel Institute’s Residential/Commercial Densified Fuel QA/QC Handbook. The PFI Standards Program is a third party certification program providing standard specifications for residential and commercial grade fuel.