U.S. Government Winter Fuels Outlook

U.S. Government Winter Fuels Outlook Includes Pellets and Wood for First Time EIA Administrator Sieminski says wood pellets represent a “significant opportunity” for consumers to save money

October 10, 2012- The U.S. government released its annual assessment of prices and availability of heating fuels today and for the first time it included information on pellets and firewood. After gas and electricity, wood is the third most common heating fuel in America, but the annual Winter Fuels Outlook had never discussed it prior to the 2012-13 heating season.
 
The Winter Fuels Outlook is put out by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), an independent statistical and analytical agency within the Department of Energy. Reports published by the agency are the premier source of energy information in the country and are used to guide economic policy and educate the public.
 
During today’s press conference, EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski mentioned the “significant opportunity” for consumers to supplement their oil heat with wood pellets, as well as with electricity.
 
The inclusion of wood and pellets in the Winter Fuels Outlook came after over a year of discussions and meetings between the EIA and a coalition of wood and pellet groups. Senator Shaheen (D-NH) also raised the importance of pellets as an alternative to oil in New England with Administrator Sieminski.
 
According to the EIA, wood and pellets now produce more residential heat in the US than propane and nearly as much as oil. Wood produces 0.5 quadrillion Btu (quads) per year, propane 0.49 quads and oil 0.6.
 
EIA projects that average household expenditures for heating oil and natural gas will increase by 19 percent and 15 percent respectively over last heating season. The agency expects the country will experience colder temperatures compared to last year’s mild winter, with oil and gas prices remaining virtually the same.
 
In terms of wood and pellets, the report said:
Wood consumption in homes has risen over the past 10 years, reversing a trend seen in the last two decades of the 20th century. In 2009, U.S. households consumed about 0.5 quadrillion Btu (quads) of wood. Household fuel oil consumption, by comparison, was only slightly higher at 0.6 quads. In homes across the United States, wood is most commonly used as a secondary source of heat and is second only to electricity as a supplemental heating fuel. Twenty percent of New England homes (1.1 million) used wood for space heating, water heating, or cooking in 2009 (EIA, Residential Energy Consumption Survey, 2009). This is nearly twice the national rate. Almost half of all rural households used wood in this area of the country. In contrast, only 12 percent of urban New England households used the fuel.
According to data previously published by the EIA, the average American household heating with wood consumes two cords of wood per year. This number includes homes that use wood or pellets as a primary, secondary or occasional heat source. The EIA also documents that consumption in rural areas is more than twice that of urban areas. The EIA estimates that 91% of homes that heat with wood use firewood, 8% use wood scrap and 6% use pellets.
 
Wood use also trends strongly with income level, according to EIA survey data, with households making $20,000 or less using more than twice the amount of wood as households making $120,000 or more.
 
“The EIA’s focus on wood and pellets is an important and timely step in the right direction,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat, a non-profit consumer organization based in the DC area. “The next step is for states to start including the price of pellets in their monthly fuel price reports,” Ackerly added.
 
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The Alliance for Green Heat promotes wood and pellet heat as a low-carbon, sustainable and affordable energy solution. The Alliance is a 510c3 non-profit organization based in Maryland.

Wood Pellet-Fueled Car Sets Record

Alternative energy advocate Robert “Chip” Beam established a world speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah during World of Speed 2010. The two-door sedan was clocked at just less than 48 mph, which may not seem out of the ordinary at first blush. However, this feat was accomplished without the use of gasoline! Instead, Beam fueled his 1989 Mercury Cougar XR7 entirely with wood pellets!

Beam’s wood-powered car is registered, insured and licensed to drive on streets and highways. Beam said a 2,000-pound package of wood pellets can be purchased for anywhere between $200-$300 and explains that his fuel mileage is about “a mile a pound”.

Beam and his business partner Larry Shilling of Alfred, N.Y., constructed the rear trunk combustion system in just a few weekends. They plan to research and develop carbon neutral energy resources as an alternative to foreign oil dependence.

The Pellet Fuels Institute’s New Standards

In the upcoming months, The Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) will release its new pellet fuel standards. They will include first time third-party verification for compliance as well as new labels for pellet fuel bags that indicate observance.

The Pellet Fuels Institute is just months from implementation of its new pellet fuel standards, including, for the first time, third-party verification for compliance. Participation in the program comes complete with a new label for bags of pellet fuel, illustrating adherence.

January 10-12, John Crouch, director of PFI’s public affairs, will present PFI’s new fuel standards and how they’ll affect pellet manufacturers in the west at the Pacific West Biomass Conference & Trade Show at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel in Seattle.

According to Crouch, the standards are beneficial to the industry. They indicate a commitment to quality and create a standard, he attests. PFI has kept its standards consistent with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a group also working on pellet fuel criteria.

Though PFI introduced standards last year, they weren’t well received by manufacturers, who thought they were too slack and did not include third-party verification. The new standards tighten length and diameter parameters and dictate a one percent ash content limit. Ash content is of particular interest to consumers, because it directly effects how often they have to empty their ashes.

The rules will begin to be implemented by PFI in spring 2011, once the third-part inspectors are ready. Next summer, consumers will see the new labels and hopefully, respond well.

Introducing EZ Equine Wood Pellet Horse Bedding

Lignetics, Inc. is pleased to announce the rollout of their revolutionary new horse bedding, EZ Equine. EZ Equine is the most premium animal bedding, made from tiny, compressed particles of 100% biodegradable raw, white, soft pine. EZ Equine does not contain additives, binders or chemicals whatsoever and is pure, green bedding. No harmful bark or hardwoods are present, which creates a consistent, high quality product.

Using EZ Equine pine bedding is like introducing thousands of tiny, absorbent sponges into your stalls, as each pellet can absorb almost four times its weight in liquid. The kiln dried pine pellets bond with ammonia to destroy odors naturally by neutralizing on contact, which greatly reduces respiratory complaints and pesky insects.

EZ Equine is a sterile, mold and bacteria-free product. Because the processing removes natural wood oils, it also does away with contaminants, such as those in products containing hardwoods.

In addition, EZ Equine is safe if ingested. The bedding is fully screened and then aspirated to remove harmful dust particles, eliminating respiratory problems in animals.

It is only necessary to add one bag of pellets every 5-7 days and strip the stall after a several months, therefore removal costs will be dramatically reduced and stall-cleaning time will be cut in half.

EZ Equine animal bedding is so absorbent that it is only necessary to spot-clean stalls for most of the life of the bedding. This means you only compost bedding that is completely used to its capacity, not bedding that could be used again. With EZ Equine, removal volume may be reduced by up to 50%, which greatly reduces handling costs.

Composting starts immediately because all tars and resins are removed during production, the resulting product is excellent high-quality compost that can even produce income – organic gardeners can’t wait to get their hands on it.

While the initial cost of EZ Equine bedding may be higher, the costs even out, because you will have to spend more on labor to deal with the higher volume of bedding pellets used with inferior products. With EZ Equine, once a stall is prepared it only takes about five minutes to maintain it per day. Because a complete stripping is necessary less often, you save time, and also money.

EZ Equine is available in easily handled forty-pound bags. Because each pellet expands to three to four times its original size, the bags occupy far less space than bales or truckloads of shavings or barns of straw. The bags come on a pallet with a thick plastic cover for secure outdoor storage.

As one of the pioneers in the wood pellet fuel industry, Lignetics maintains plants on both coasts. State of the art facilities utilize up-to-the-minute technology and computer-controlled machines to manufacture Lignetics products. Efficiency and maximization of resources are key components of both the East and West coast locations. Lignetics, Inc. manufactures EZ Equine pine bedding in Kenbridge, Virginia.

Manufacturing Wood Pellets and a History of the Company

Lignetics Inc. is proud to unveil two new videos, which can be seen on our web site at http://www.Lignetics.com or on YouTube.
 
The first video details the manufacturing process we use to make premium wood pellets and Pres-to-Logs® (presto logs) fire logs for home heating. In just over two minutes, you’ll see how we take waste sawdust and turn it into the highest quality wood fuel pellets available. From the conveyor belt to the tumble dryer and everything in between, we outline our method of manufacturing the best value and quality wood pellets available, using 100% environmentally friendly methods.
 
Our next presentation introduces you to Lignetics, Inc. in just a minute and a half. By sharing just a bit about our company’s history, it becomes clear that Lignetics, Inc. today has come a long way and is determined to continue this heritage of excellence. See how we became the premier pellet manufacturer in North America while remaining true to our dedication to high quality products and matchless customer service.

Lignetics opens new wood pellet plant in Kenbridge, Virginia

In December, Lignetics celebrated the Official Grand Opening of its newest manufacturing plant in Kenbridge, Virginia, with many State and Local officials in attendance.
 
The new plant will have about thirty local employees and utilize the latest state-of-the-art equipment to produce the highest quality premium wood fuel pellets utilizing local sawmill residuals. Lignetics’ trained operators use computer controlled equipment and robotic technology in conjunction with the most efficient manufacturing practices to produce our premium wood pellets. Efficiency, quality control, and maximization of resources are key components of both the East and West coast locations.
 
With over 125,000 square feet of storage under roof, this will ensure adequate supplies during the heating season. The facility is located in close proximity to mid-Atlantic and Northeastern markets to ensure availability and reduce transportation costs.
 
Capable of producing 90,000 tons of wood pellet fuel per year, the environmentally friendly Kenbridge plant is dedicated to green production values. The forty-five acre site is a model of modern manufacturing while being mindful of producing a carbon-neutral product.
 
Lignetics maintains plants on both the East and West coasts, which helps reduce expensive transportation costs and keeps a readily available and consistent supply of wood pellets and Pres-to-logs® fire logs available at a lower cost. By locating their plants near local markets, Lignetics hopes to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their commitment to the environment.

Lignetics: Manufacturer of Premium Wood Pellets, Pres-to-Logs® Fire Logs, and Fire Starters

Welcome to Lignetics’ blog where we will be posting current information about the wood pellet, fire log, and fire starter industry. We welcome your comments and additions as we develop what we hope will be an up-to-date information center on all developments concerning wood pellets and fire logs.