U.S. Starts Pellet Export Group
Pellet producers Enviva, Fram Renewable Fuels, Green Circle Bio Energy, and the Westervelt Company have formed the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA) to represent and assist U.S. industrial pellet producers who are exporting to Europe.
October 31, 2011 By Colleen Cross & Heather Hager
Pellet producers Enviva, Fram Renewable Fuels, Green Circle Bio Energy, and the Westervelt Company have formed the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA) to represent and assist U.S. industrial pellet producers who are exporting to Europe. The association, established in February 2011, is concentrating on a number of issues related to the pellet industry, including Europe policy that will affect the developing U.S. industry. USIPA is the first group to focus exclusively on U.S. industrial pellets and the issues surrounding international export, particularly to Europe.
“There was no voice for U.S. industrial pellet producers who are exporting to Europe. It’s obviously a very, very focused organization. Because of that void, these founding members got together,” says executive director Seth Ginther. Ginther handles the day-to-day running of the organization, recruiting, and European lobbying. He is an independent contractor and a lawyer with Hirschler Fleischer in Richmond, Virginia.
To date, 26 members have joined, among them Andritz Group, Astec Industries, ICAP Logistics & Shipping, Platou Shipping, Oldendorff Shipping, Bruks, Bühler, Büttner, Dieffenbacher, Forest2Market, Energy Title Services, T. Parker Host, and Evolution Markets.
Speaking at the September 2011 North American Biomass Pellet Export Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ginther said, “We will begin participating in meetings with the international Wood Pellet Buyers Group, offering our opinions from a USIPA perspective on three very key issues that the buyers are looking at: pellet specification standards, sustainability, and forming a uniform trading contract.”
He added that the group also has its eye on a key domestic issue: best practices in safety in both shipping and manufacturing. “It’s only going to take one incident to really sideline this industry for some time. So we’ve got to be very diligent about our safety.”
USIPA has a strong relationship with Gordon Murray and the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC). “We are interested in working with, and have a very strong relationship with the WPAC, and have many of the same interests, and so there are lots of opportunities to work together there,” explains Ginther. “The work that Gordon is doing is very similar to the work that we’re doing. In fact, Canadians have made great strides from a safety standpoint.”
On U.S. domestic issues and foreign policy as they relate to industrial wood pellet buying, the association has been working with the Pellet Fuels Institute, which concentrates on the retail side of the wood pellet industry.
USIPA plans to make the Pellet Export Conference an annual event going forward. Keep an eye out to the Canadian Biomass events page.
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