FutureMetrics is the leading consultancy in the wood pellet sector

 

FutureMetrics provides information, market analysis, operations guidance, and strategic advice to many of the world’s leading companies in the wood pellet sector.

Intelligent Analysis, Operations Guidance, and Strategic Leadership for the Pellet Sector

FutureMetrics uses Argus Direct data to provide its clients with current and detailed information on global wood pellet markets.

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Argus Wood Pellet Index

US$ per metric tonne - one year history
Argus Wood Pellet Index

FutureMetrics has a unique skill set for providing detailed independent analysis. We combine broad and deep operational expertise, powerful sector focused financial modeling skills, and thought leading market awareness.

  • Advice on all aspects of producing, transporting, and selling pellets
  • Operations optimization and operator training for pellet plants
  • Strategic analysis and market research
  • Expert guidance and due diligence for potential investors and project developers

Download a summary of our team and a list of recent projects and clients HERE.

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FutureMetrics Analysis

White Papers and Dashboards

NEW (December 4, 2017) - A white paper by FutureMetrics's operations expert John Swaan, "Best Practices for Fighting and Preventing a Fire in a Wood Pellet Storage Dome or Silo."

This white paper is about fires in wood pellet storage systems and the lessons learned from several decades of experience.  The author of this paper has over four decades of hands-on experience with wood pellet manufacturing.  The experience and wisdom that he and others have gained is the basis for the best practices that are described in the white paper.

This white paper not only discusses best practice but also recounts how they were used to successfully resolve a major silo fire.  The silo fire was at the Pacific BioEnergy (PacBio) 350,000 tonne per year pellet plant in Prince George, BC* in August of 2017.  The tactics used to combat the fire resulted in a successful outcome.  This is in contrast to a long history of silo and dome fires resulting in the complete loss of the structures, major damage to the surrounding infrastructure, and injury and loss of life.

*The original pellet mill of the company that became Pacific BioEnergy in Prince George, BC was built by the author of this white paper, John Swaan, in 1994.

NEW (September 16, 2017) - An important component of the pathway to a more decarbonized future: Wood pellets as a substitute for coal in power generation.

This short paper discusses a renewable biomass-based strategy for the power sector that is good for the environment and offers a low-cost method of reducing CO2 while providing essential baseload power to the grid.  The strategy is not based on complex chemistry to produce liquid fuel from biomass.  The strategy is based on a proven process for upgrading wood into a densified and durable solid fuel that is suitable for use in large utility power boilers that are based on pulverized coal fuel systems.

(August 15, 2017) The Japanese Industrial Wood Pellet Markets: Policies and how they will drive current and future demand.

This brief white paper is a high-level overview of the Japanese industrial wood pellet sector.  The paper has a short summary of global past demand and forecast demand for industrial wood pellets and then focuses on Japan.  The paper reviews the policies in Japan that are driving the current and expected future growth in demand for industrial wood pellets.  The paper contains some high-level forecasts for Japanese demand in tonnes per year.

(May 11, 2017) Why the South Korean Utilities May Never Engage in Long-term Offtake Agreements for Industrial Wood Pellets
Demand for industrial wood pellets in S. Korea has grown rapidly in recent years and is expected to grow significantly over the next half decade.  This brief white paper discusses why that growth is happening and is expected to continue.  The paper also discusses the risks associated with the S. Korean RPS scheme and shows why the short-term tendering strategy that is used by S. Korean utilities for securing wood pellet fuel may remain in use for the foreseeable future despite the challenges that the absence of long-term agreements place on the supply side.
(March 20, 2017) Micro-Scale Pellet-Fueled Combined Heat and Power
Generating electricity at the micro level with renewable low carbon wood pellets can be part of a distributed power smart grid architecture that can complement small-scale solar, small-scale battery storage, and the growth in the use of electric vehicles.  The new micro-CHP and its potential benefits are described in detail.  The paper is complimented by a new dashboard.

(March 6, 2017) A critique of the Chatham House study.

The recently released paper by the Chatham House is a study that contains many inaccurate statements about the use of wood for energy.   Those statements are presented as facts (when they are not) or as uncontested conclusions (when they are erroneous).  This white paper focuses on the study’s discussions that pertain to the sourcing of raw materials for industrial wood pellets and why they got it wrong.

(January 2, 2017) Trump Wants to Save the Coal Industry. We Offer a Plan that can Help.

The plan that this white paper discusses will sustain coal mining jobs and will create tens of thousands of new jobs in another sector that is experiencing significant job losses: the forest products sector.  The plan will also stimulate billions of dollars of new investment in new US manufacturing plants.

(October 24, 2016) White Paper and Dashboard - The Lowest Cost Solution for Maximum Decarbonization of the Power Sector while Maintaining Grid Reliability

FutureMetrics has a new White Paper and Dashboard. The white paper compares the analytics of two scenarios that provide on-demand dispatchable power: (1) Retire coal power plants and replace them with new combined cycle natural gas generating stations, and (2) Modify existing pulverized coal power plants to use renewable industrial wood pellets as a substitute for coal.  This paper shows that when comparing the two scenarios, and when factoring in the reduction in CO2 emissions from each technological solution, the solution that provides significantly higher CO2 reduction at a lower net monetary cost per avoided ton is by repurposing existing pulverized coal power plants to run on industrial wood pellets. The paper also offers some thoughts on policy.  The paper is accompanied by a new dashboard that allows the user to experiment with the assumptions used in the model.

(May 2, 2016) White Paper on Carbon Accounting and Sustainability

FutureMetrics has a new whitepaper. A recent Washington Post editorial about using wood for energy was poorly informed. It was based on a letter sent to Congress by 65 “experts”. FutureMetrics’ new white paper is, “The Washington Post and 65 ‘experts’ that Wrote a letter to Congress are Wrong about Biomass to Energy.

(January 12, 2016) White Paper on Pellet Plant Operations by John Swaan

FutureMetrics has a new White Paper by John Swaan that discusses the reasons why pellet plants do not perform as expected. Click on the link at the top of this column to download the paper.

Interactive Dashboards

Wood Pellets in Coal Power Plants – Updated

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NEW – Charging an Electric Vehicle with a Pellet Fueled Micro-CHP

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Conversion from Coal to Pellets vs New Natural Gas Power Plant

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Pellet Supply Chain
Cost & Margin (EBITDA)

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Pellet Supply Chain Carbon Footprint

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Wood Chips vs. Pellets

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Valuation Dashboard

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Calculating Wood Needed for a Pellet Project

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Dr. Strauss has been named one of the most influential leaders in the biomass sector two years in a row in 2016 and 2017 by Argus Media. William Strauss is the recipient of the 2012 International Excellence in BioEnergy Award.

John Swaan is the recipient of the 2014 International Founders Award. He is the founder of Pacific BioEnergy and producer of the first transatlantic shipment of wood pellets from North America to Europe (1998).

Seth is a leading researcher, analyst, and author in the wood pellet sector.  Has presented at dozens of conferences throughout the world.

Laurenz provides rigorous analytic skills to FutureMetrics’ analyses of contemporary wood fiber conversion and densification processes.

Dr. Strauss speaking in London at the 2017 Argus Biomass Conference about key challenges and opportunities for the pellet industry in the coming years.