Intelligent Analysis, Operations Guidance, and
Strategic Leadership for the Pellet Sector
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 .
FutureMetrics has an agreement with the world’s leading engineering firm for power plant modifications and conversions from coal to wood pellets to offer expert advice.
FutureMetrics research reports and subscriptions.
(June 24, 2019) - William Strauss comments on the shortcomings of the US EPA's Affordable Clean Energy Program
In a bit of Orwellian logic, the EPA’s recently finalized ACE rules (see excerpt from the rule making below) ignore the basis for why using biomass for power and heat is the principal pathway for decarbonization in most other developed countries. By only counting the CO2 emissions at the source and ignoring the continuous absorption of CO2 by sustainably managed forests, the EPA has excluded a proper consideration of the dynamics that keep the net CO2 added into the atmosphere neutral or even negative.
(March 29, 2019) - New white paper - Japan May Impose Sustainablity Requirements on Palm Kernal Shell (PKS) - What that means for PKS and Pellets
(March 15, 2019) - New white paper - Heating pellets and how their use is beneficial to the economy
(February 6, 2019) - New dashboard - Calculating pellet demand in Japanese utility power stations in order to comply with minimum efficiency requirements.
(December 19, 2018) - New white paper - "Pellet Markets Soar in 2018 – a year-end review and outlook"
(October 29, 2018) - New white paper - "Coal Power Stations that Convert to Wood Pellets Supply Reliable On-Demand Baseload and Peaking Power"
This very brief white paper illustrates why all countries, states, or provinces that are serious about lowering carbon emissions in the power generation sector should include the use of pellets as a replacement for coal in their portfolio for renewable generation.
This short paper shows a real-world example of how pulverized coal power stations modified to use pellet fuel are part of the solution for lowering CO2 emissions and fighting climate change.
(October 1, 2018) - New free white paper - "Forecasting Industrial Wood Pellet Prices - A new model for calculating future prices"
FutureMetrics has developed a comprehensive model for estimating the cost of producing and transporting wood pellets from all major producing regions to the foreign ports of major industrial end users. Our model provides valuable insight into the future costs and prices for industrial wood pellets and the potential cash flow risks associated with the uncertainty of those costs. It is important to analyze pellet supply chain cash flows and costs to better understand the price dynamics in long-term offtake agreements. FutureMetrics’ model provides insight into the components of the total cost of industrial wood pellets delivered to a foreign port. It offers information that is crucial to due diligence by pellet producers, buyers, traders, suppliers, and financial stakeholders in the wood pellet industry.
(July 8, 2018) - Free white paper - Vietnam Wood Pellet Exports - Rapid growth and low prices. Can it last? What is the Future?
This brief white paper explores the Vietnam pellet export sector. With growth in pellet exports from Vietnam going from nearly zero to about 2.75 million metric tonnes per year over seven years, the obvious questions are: What are the limits to growth for that country and what will be the future costs, and thus future prices, for pellets produced in Vietnam and shipped to South Korea and Japan?
(April 30, 2018) - Free white paper - A Perspective on Solar Energy Storage
This white paper describes how the solar energy captured by plants and converted into, and stored as energy rich carbohydrates should be part of how we achieve a reliable and economically feasible transition to a decarbonized future.
(January 31, 2018) - Free white paper - Weather, Heating Oil Prices, and Wood Pellet Sales
This brief white paper shows how weather (heating degree days) and the price of heating oil influence demand for wood pellets for heating. The paper also looks at actual pellet prices in several selected states.
(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.
(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.
(May 11, 2017) Why the South Korean Utilities May Never Engage in Long-term Offtake Agreements for Industrial Wood Pellets
(March 20, 2017) Micro-Scale Pellet-Fueled Combined Heat and Power
(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 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.
Many more free papers are listed on the paper download page.
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 Walker is a leading researcher, analyst, and author in the wood pellet sector. Has presented at dozens of conferences throughout the world.
Laurenz Schmidt provides rigorous analytic skills to FutureMetrics’ analyses of contemporary wood fiber conversion and densification processes.
Yoshinobu “Yoshi” Kusano provides analysis on Japanese policy and insights into the future of the Japanese markets for wood pellets.