St. Louis International Biomass Conference Update

Kevin Triemstra, CEO, attended the International Biomass Conference in St. Louis in the first full week of May. Three very general opinions gathered from the conference are:

1. Prospects for biomass are improving over the last few years, despite low natural gas prices. There’s a greater interest in biomass as a biofuel to replace oil (such as cellulosic ethanols) since oil is higher in price over 2010, but there is a more optimistic view of other biomass uses, too. The industry will face its share of challenges, but it’s nice to see interest growing, albeit slowly, over time.

2. Exports, especially wood pellet exports, are increasing from North America to Europe. Canada has been exporting for several years, but now the United States is increasing exports as well.  Argus Media had a good presentation and provided a biomass market report which we feel is worth sharing for those that are interested in export markets.  See the link here: Argus Biomass Markets and click the “Sample Copy” link at the bottom of the page for an example.

3. Quality control for the industry is continuing to mature.  Europe is once again leading the charge for industrial solid (pellet) and liquid biofuel (ethanol) standards.  Most standards are still in draft form, but once complete (may still occur in 2011), the US may start to use similar standards. At the very least, ISO International standards will likely be based on European standards and should be expected 3 years after finalization of European standards.