Helping Customers Navigate the Wood Pellet Market

You’ll have no trouble getting a steady supply of this fuel. Unlike oil, wood pellets are produced in the homeowner’s own region—and unlike oil, wood pellets are stably priced and readily available. Indeed, they’re abundant.

It is easy to get your hands on 40-pound bags of wood pellets; they’re at your local hardware and farm supply stores . . . heck, they’re even at Walmart!  But now there is also a thriving bulk wood pellet market.   This nicely simplifies your life: The pellets will come to you.  They’ll be trucked to your home on automatic delivery, just like oil or propane, by a local supplier.  A 75-foot flexible pneumatic tube on the truck will transfer the pellets directly into your storage bin.

A bulk delivery of wood pellets to a residential customer. Pellets are loaded into the 1-ton, reusable sacks that have been filled at the pellet mill. The sacks are emptied into a pneumatic delivery system mounted on the truck and pellets are supplied to the installed bulk pellet bin through the four-inch flexible hose shown.

“We want to overcome the misconception that wood pellets are hard to get—that there are shortages from year to year,” notes Andy Boutin, founder of Pellergy LLC, a State of Vermont-based “wood pellet solutions company.” Boutin points out, “This misconception about scarcity arose back in 2008, when oil prices skyrocketed and homeowners heating with pellets rushed to store them. They were storing far more pellets than they could burn in a year. This created a huge market demand overnight. For maybe two months there were shortages, because manufacturers couldn’t keep up with demand.”

Since then, three new pellet mills have gone into operation in New England, producing over 200,000 tons of pellets annually with the capacity to produce more. “Right now, in the 2010 and 2011 heating season, there are far more pellets available than ever before,” Boutin assures homeowners. “There’s no shortage of this fuel.” In fact, there is a thriving bulk-pellet market not just in New England but in most parts of the U.S., and new distribution providers are coming on line every season.  Not only do new plants continue to come on line, but existing plants are ready, willing, and able to increase supply to meet augmented demand.

In fact, many oil companies are currently expanding their product lines to include delivery of bulk wood pellets—as well as installation and service of wood-pellet central heating systems. Choosing pellets as your fuel is a win-win-win situation: it employs Americans at every stage (logging in local forests, milling in local mills, short-distance trucking, systems design, installation, local retailers, local truckers); it saves the environment, and it saves the homeowner on fuel costs .

When you’re ready to switch to pellet heat, your first stop should be your trusted, local, reliable (and often family-owned) fuel supplier.  This company can help you switch to cleaner, cheaper wood pellet heat.

A Word About Wood Pellet Quality

Quality in wood pellets varies based upon the grade of fuel you choose as well as the manufacturing process the pellet mill uses to refine their wood feed stock—and the quality of the pellet makes a difference!   The Pellet Fuels Institute (www.pelletheat.org) maintains the North American Standard for wood pellet fuel incorporating a grading system of Super Premium, Premium, Standard and Utility for pellets.  The retail market focuses on Premium and Super Premium pellets, and the primary difference between the two is ash content.  Super Premium pellets contain 0.5% while Premium pellets contain 1.0% or twice the amount of ash content.

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