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.

NEW (October 19, 2020) –  A new and important white paper on the future of power generation.  The paper shows how wind, solar, and energy storage have a very long way to go if we envision a 100% fossil fuel free generation sector.  The paper offers guidance for navigating that long transition. HERE.

NEW (September 25, 2020) –  See Dr. Strauss’s comprehensive presentation about global pellet markets given at the 2020 Wood Pellet Association of Canada’s annual (virtual) conference. The video of the presentation is HERE.

(June 26, 2020) –  A “call-to-action” white paper on climate change.  Dr. Strauss offers a novel perspective on the consequences of business as usual. The paper is HERE.

(May 6, 2020) –  “How renewable solid fuel is an important component of the pathway to a more decarbonized future.”  This white paper discusses the efficacy of using wood pellets for power and shows why the opponents of pellets for power use poorly crafted arguments based on faulty logic. The paper is HERE.

(March 23, 2020) –  “The Impact of Covid-19 on the Industrial Wood Pellet Industry”  The magnitude and reach of the crisis is huge and far reaching.  This white paper focuses on one small sector: the industrial wood pellet industry and provides some thoughts on what may happen. The paper is HERE.

(October 28, 2019) –  “Japan and South Korean Industrial Wood Pellet Markets: Insights into their ability to pay for pellets.”  This white paper provides insights into how Japanese and S. Korean policies do or do not support their power producers  ability to pay for pellet fuel under sustainable and equitable long-term offtake agreements.  The paper is HERE.

(September 3, 2019) – A pellet mill project that FutureMetrics managed is in commercial operation.  The new pellet mill in Vietnam was designed, built, and started under the guidance of John Swaan, FutureMetrics’ operations expert.  A paper with a brief description of the project and many photos of the pellet mill is HERE.

(July 29, 2019) – A white paper about the South Korean pellet markets.  This paper discusses the recent dramatic fall in import volumes and the fall in the spot price of Vietnam pellets.  The paper discusses the reasons and offers some thoughts on the impacts. There are many charts describing the recent market evolution.  The paper is also accompanied by a highly comprehensive dashboard that allows the user to experiment with many difference inputs to see the effects on power plant cash flows, and thus pellet demand, in both South Korea and Japan.  The link to the dashboard is on page 9 of the paper.  The paper is HERE.  The description of the dashboard and its user manual is HERE.

(June 24, 2019) – William Strauss comments on the shortcomings of the US EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy Program.  HERE.

(March 29, 2019) – “Japan May Impose Sustainability Requirements on Palm Kernel Shell (PKS) – What that means for PKS and Pellets”.  FutureMetrics has learned that the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is considering requiring palm kernel shell (PKS) to be certified as sustainably sourced. According to information that is informally circulating, it appears that the requirement of sustainability, legality, and traceability for PKS is under serious discussion and is likely to be imposed on current and new PKS procurement.  This white paper looks at the implications of a policy requiring PKS to meet sustainability criteria.  HERE.

(March 15, 2019) – “How Maine can Transition to a More Energy Self-sufficient Future and Significantly Increase Employment”.  This white paper discusses the benefits to Maine’s residents and to the state’s economy if a proportion of Maine’s homes and businesses transition from heavy dependence on heating oil to the use of locally produced wood pellet heating fuel. The white paper is available HERE.

(December 19, 2018) – “Pellet Markets Soar in 2018 – A Year-End Review and Outlook”.  2018 was one of the strongest years for trade in the global wood pellet markets in recent years.  Year-on-year growth of pellet imports from 2017 to 2018 is projected to be 26%!  The white paper is available HERE.

(October 29, 2018) –  “Coal Power Stations that Convert to Wood Pellets Supply Reliable On-Demand Baseload and Peaking Power”.  This very brief white 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.  The white paper is available HERE.

(October 1, 2018) –  “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. The analysis offers information that is crucial to due diligence by pellet producers, buyers, traders, suppliers, and financial stakeholders in the wood pellet industry.  The white paper describes the model and analysis in detail.  HERE.

(July 7, 2018) –  “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 going from nearly zero to 2.75 million metric tonnes per year in about seven years, the obvious questions are: What are the limits to growth and what will be the future costs, and thus prices, of pellets from Vietnam? HERE.

(April 30, 2018) –  “A Perspective on Solar Energy Storage: Solving the Challenges of Balancing the Power Grid During the Transition to a Decarbonized Future”.  This white paper describes how grid balancing from the solar energy captured by plants and converted into and stored as energy rich carbohydrates should be part of how we make a reliable and economically feasible transition to a decarbonized future.  The free white paper is HERE.

(January 31, 2018) –  – “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.  The free white paper is HERE.

(December 4, 2017) – “Best Practices for Fighting and Preventing a Fire in a Wood Pellet Storage Dome or Silo“.  This white paper by FutureMetrics’ operations expert John Swaan discusses best practices and recounts how they were used to successfully combat a silo fire in August of 2017.  The white paper is HERE.

(September 16, 2017) – “How a low-tech renewable solid fuel is an important component of the pathway to a more decarbonized future: Wood Pellets as a Substitute for Coal in Power Stations“.  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 emissions while providing essential baseload power to the grid.  The white paper is HERE.

(August 15, 2017) – “A Short Update on 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. After brief look at expected global pellet demand, the paper focuses on the policies in Japan that support current and future industrial wood pellet demand.  Several scenarios for expected tonnes per year of demand are reviewed.  The white paper is HERE

(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. The white paper is HERE

(March 20, 2017) – White Paper and Dashboard – “Micro-Scale Pellet-Fueled Combined Heat and Power: a new distributed power solution for the smart grid of the future.”  This white paper is about the future of the pellet heating markets.  Currently, premium heating pellets only produce heat in stoves, boilers, or furnaces.  But a new product, developed by OkoFEN in Upper Austria is poised to dramatically change how heating pellets contribute to the overall market for wood pellets.  The new product is a small combined heat and power (CHP) system that runs on premium wood pellets.  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.  To illustrate the benefits of producing both heat and power, and to use an example that has metrics that are easy to relate to, FutureMetrics has produced a dashboard that shows the cost to charge an electric vehicle using the electricity produced by the pellet-fueled micor-CHP system. The white paper including a link to the dashboard is HERE.  The dashboard can also be opened from the dashboard section at the bottom of the homepage.

(March 6, 2017) – “Alternative Facts in the Recent Chatham House Study.”  This white paper is a critique of the recently released study by the Chatham House.  The Chatham House study contains many inaccurate statements about the use of wood for energy.   Those statements are presented as facts (when they are not facts) or as uncontested conclusions (when they are erroneous conclusions).  This white paper explains why we think they got it wrong. The white paper is HERE.

(January 2, 2017) – “Trump Wants to Save the Coal Industry. We Offer a Plan that can Help.”  This white paper offers a plan that will sustain coal mining job and will create tens of thousands of new jobs in the forest products sector.  The plan will also stimulate billions of dollars of new investment in US manufacturing plants.  The white paper is HERE.

(October 24, 2016) – FutureMetrics has an important new White Paper: “The Lowest Cost Solution for Maximum Decarbonization of the Power Sector while Maintaining Grid Reliability”.  The paper and the accompanying dashboard compare two scenarios for lowering carbon emissions in the power generation sector.  The paper analyzes the net present value of the total costs for a new natural gas combined cycle power plant versus converting an existing pulverized coal power plant to run on industrial wood pellets.  Those costs are used to calculate the cost of each avoided ton of CO2 emissions.  The 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 re-purposing existing pulverized coal power plants to run on industrial wood pellets.  The paper also offers some thoughts on policy.  The paper is HERE.  The dashboard is available from the links on the homepage.

(October 10, 2016) – FutureMetrics has a new White Paper.  Where might the industrial wood pellet markets go in terms of tonnage demand and prices?  This paper has forecasts for both.  The paper is HERE.

(August 22, 2016) –  FutureMetrics has a new White Paper. This white paper first reviews the impacts of increased concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. The paper then offers some thoughts on carbon policy and why some influential leaders oppose action on mitigating CO2 emissions.  This paper discusses why the Clean Power Plan, as we have coined in an earlier paper, is part of a rational and pragmatic off-ramp towards a more decarbonized future and why those in opposition should reconsider..    The White Paper is HERE

(August 12, 2016) –  FutureMetrics has a new dashboard.  The dashboard is a tool for estimating the deal price for an existing pellet plant that is for sale.    The dashboard is HERE.  The dashboard requires that Abobe Flash be enabled as a plug-in or add-on to your browser.

(June, 2016) –  FutureMetrics has published a new White Paper titled “The Current State of the Industrial Wood Pellet Markets and How the Japanese Market will bring New Opportunities for Growth.” The paper has new market intelligence on the current and future use of wood pellets as a substitute for coal in existing power stations in the EU and UK with a detailed discussion of the Japanese market.  The paper is HERE.

(May, 2016) –  FutureMetrics has published a White Paper titled “The Washington Post and 65 “Experts” that Wrote a Letter to Congress are Wrong about Biomass to Energy.”  The paper is HERE.

(January 12, 2016) –  FutureMetrics has a new White Paper on pellet plant operations.  The new paper by John Swaan discusses the reasons that many pellet projects have sub-optimal operations.  The paper is HERE.

(December 21, 2015) –  FutureMetrics has a new free dashboard.  The dashboard provides state specific information about the Clean Power Plan.  The dashboard also shows estimated pellet demand if some of the coal power stations in the states co-fire in order to lower carbon emissions.  The dashboard is HERE [Note that the dashboard is a PDF that uses Adobe Flash.   You must have Flash installed to use it.  If you open the PDF and see a blank page, you do not have Flash or it is blocked.]

(November 30, 2015) –  FutureMetrics has a new White Paper critiquing the recent Climate Central report titled “Pulp Fiction”.  FutureMetrics’ paper is HERE.

(October 30, 2015) –  FutureMetrics has a new White Paper about the Canadian heating pellet markets.  We offer some ideas as to why the Canadian heating pellet sector is relatively small given the country’s climate and abundance of sustainable pellet production feedstock.  We also show why at least one province is expected to experience rapid and near-term growth in demand for premium heating pellets.  The paper is HERE.

(July 27, 2015) –  FutureMetrics has a new short white paper on consolidation if the US heating pellet sector.  The paper is HERE.

(July 6, 2015) –  There are two highly inaccurate statements that are often made about the use of wood pellets as a substitute for coal in power generation.  (1) The CO2 released from the combustion of wood pellets is greater than the CO2 released from the combustion of coal; (2) Using wood pellets for heat or power creates a carbon debt that takes decades to repay.  Both the “pellets are worse than coal” and the “carbon debt” arguments have become ingrained in the anti-biomass literature. In this white paper we will show why those statements, often presented as facts, are inaccurate.  The paper is HERE.

(Updated June 26, 2015) –  FutureMetrics has a White Paper and Dashboard.  The paper is titled, “A Rational and Pragmatic Off-Ramp to a Decarbonized Future“.  The paper discuses how co-firing wood pellets with coal in existing US coal power plants is a low-cost solution to lowering carbon emissions.  The strategy is founded on keeping the critical baseload support that the coal fired fleet brings to the grid.  It is a strategy that unites the power generators, the coal producers, the pellet producers, and the states working on compliance plans for the Clean Power Plan.  The Dashboard allows the user to change many of the inputs to the co-firing model.  The paper is HERE and the Dashboard is HERE .

(April 13, 2015) –  The Supply Chain Dashboard has been updated.  You can adjust 14 different inputs and choose Pounds or Euros.  For example, adjust the subsidized power rates per MWh and the exchange rates to see the impacts on profit margins.  Click HERE to open the dashboard.

(March 27, 2015) –  Some members of congress have gained strong press lately by saying that the Clean Power Plan will close hundreds of coal fired power plants and that the plan is a “war on coal”. In fact, if the coal industry and the power stations that use coal follow a strategy that is proven successful in Europe and South Korea, coal plants will not close and coal producers may see their margins improve. Furthermore the strategy will increase the number of jobs in the power industry and its supply chains at an almost insignificant cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh).  We show why the Clean Power Plan is NOT a war on coal.   Click HERE to download the white paper.

(March 19, 2015) –  We have a new short white paper that explains why policymakers should focus on switching homeowners from heating oil to modern wood pellet fueled central heating systems  BEFORE the home has an insulation upgrade.  Click HERE to download the white paper.

(February 3, 2015) –  The World Resources Institute (WRI) released a paper recently that claims that wood pellets are worse than coal for CO2 emissions.  FutureMetrics has published a white paper that points out how WRI has gotten it very wrong on wood pellets.  Click HERE to download the white paper.

(January 14, 2015) – The rapid and continued fall in oil prices may have significant impacts on the domestic pellet heating sector.  This short presentation with THREE interactive dashboards addresses this topic.  The dashboards allow you to experiment with forecast scenarios and observe the impacts on premium pellet demand.  Get the document with the dashboards (5.2 MB download)  HERE.

(January 12, 2015) – FutureMetrics has a new short research paper on the impact of the strengthening dollar on the industrial pellet sector.  The paper includes an updated interactive dashboard that calculates the EBITDA/tonne for both the producer and the utility buyer.  You can change all of the key inputs to the supply chain model including the British pounds per dollar exchange rate.  The new real time history chart shows you the effects on cash flows.  Get the paper and dashboard  HERE.

(December 1, 2014) – FutureMetrics has a new FREE dashboard.  This interactive tool calculates the volume and cost of wood for a pellet manufacturing project. HERE.

(December 1, 2014) – The October paper on the impact of falling oil prices on premium pellet sales has updated charts and text.  The precipitous fall in crude oil price at the end of November, 2014 is included in the updated charts. The updated paper is HERE.

(November 5, 2014) – This white paper is an updated and revised version of earlier research on converting older pulverized coal plants to use advanced solid biofuel.  The paper shows that this strategy provides the lowest cost and highest job creating pathway to compliance with Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).    39 US states have some form of RPS that require an increasing proportion of electricity to be generated from renewable sources.  The paper is HERE.

(October 12, 2014) – FutureMetrics has revised and updated the paper on “Black Pellets”.  The updated paper has a detailed breakdown of the costs and benefit of each of the three types of pellets (white, torrefied, and steam exploded).  The paper also incorporates the benefits that accrue if the pellets are waterproof.  The paper is HERE.  The paper is accompanied by a new FREE dashboard that provides the user with a comprehensive set of inputs for comparing white pellets to torrefied and steam exploded pellets. The dashboard is HERE.

(September 2, 2014) – FutureMetrics has a new FREE dashboard that compares wood pellets and wood chips as fuel for converted coal power plants. The dashboard also has a link to a 26 slide PowerPoint with details on the topic.  HERE

FutureMetrics’ white paper (May, 2014) –  “Wood Pellet Fuel – A Solution to Reliable Baseload Low Carbon Electric Power Generation”.  HERE

FutureMetrics is offering a FREE dashboard that calculates the carbon footprint of industrial pellets.  There a many user inputs along the entire supply chain.  HERE

FutureMetrics’ white paper – It is another look at natural gas but provides an analysis of compressed natural gas (CNG) for residential heating.  CNG is shown to be significantly more costly than pellet fuel for heating homes and businesses.  HERE

“How the Northern States can Heat with Renewable Energy and Create Jobs, Economic Growth, and Environmental Benefits”.  HERE

Industrial Wood Pellet Projects – How to Identify a Good ProspectThis brief document focuses on how FutureMetrics can provide assistance in defining if an export project is feasibleHERE

FutureMetrics is the consulting firm that has gathered data and analyzed the 24 Maine biomass heating projects that received ARRA funding. Link to the online data and analysis is HERE.

Dr. Strauss, in his role as the Chief Economist of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, has released a paper on the positive economic impacts of Senators King and Collins Senate Bill 1007: Biomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2013.  Download HERE

Click HERE to download Dr. Strauss’s article: “Why CO2 from Wood Fuels is Carbon Neutral in Combustion from the May, 2013 issue of Environmental Management Magazine, a publication of the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA; www.awma.org).

Click HERE to download the presentation given by William Strauss at the 2013 International Biomass Conference on Pellet Export Project Risk and Decision Analysis.

Click HERE to download Dr. Strauss’s presentation about Thermal RECs in State RPS presented at the NE Biomass Heating Conference April 4, 2013.

Click HERE to download our paper on why low cost natural gas will be good for the wood-to-energy sector.

Click HERE to download Dr. Strauss’s presentation to the Biomass/Pellet Trade Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November, 2012.

Click HERE to download the presentation given to the International Bioenergy Days conference in Mankato, Minnesota 2012.

Click HERE to download our paper on Thermal RECS.  This paper describes the significant positive economic impacts of including thermal RECS in states’ RPS statutes.

Click HERE to download the Risk Analysis for a Wood Pellet Manufacturing Plant.  This paper illustrates the use of Monte Carlo simulation to quantify key decision metrics for the development of a wood pellet manufacturing facility.

Click HERE to download the FREE Life Cycle Cost Analysis interactive dashboard.  It is embedded into a short paper in a PDF file.

Click HERE to download the research paper “An Analysis of the Future of Natural Gas Prices and Wood Pellet Prices: Natural gas will become much more costly than wood pellets.” The paper shows how natural gas prices will increase significantly while pellet prices will not.

Click HERE to download the presentation made at the Heating the Midwest Conference on BioEnergy in the Midwest.

Click HERE to download the presentation made to Focus on the Nation in March 2012 on BioEnergy in the Northeast.

Click HERE to download “CO2 from Wood and Coal Combustion”.

Click HERE to the download a PPT that accompanied the opening remarks by William Strauss at “Wood to Energy Across the Northern Tier” which was an experts roundtable which was organized by the US Endowment for Forests and Communities and the USDA Forest Service (January 2012).

Click HERE to the download the presentation made to in Washington DC in the House Energy and Commerce meeting room.

Click HERE to download the paper, Good News, FutureMetrics and Manomet Agree: (sort of – and of course that is our opinion)

Click HERE to download Dr. Strauss’s presentation to the Florida Forestry Association

Click HERE to download Dr. Strauss’s reply to Manomet

Click HERE to download the paper, “How Manomet Got it Backwards.”

Click HERE to download the PowerPoint on the job destroying dependence on heating oil that was presented at the Woody Biomass Energy Research Symposium for the Northern Forest in Burlington, VT.  Posted May 1, 2011.

Click HERE to download the paper on Maine’s addiction to heating oil.

Click  HERE to download a paper on the northeast’s dependency on heating oil and how that is connected to refining and extraction in the Gulf of Mexico region.

Click  HERE to download the 25×25 vision summary (25% renewables for heating the northeast by 2025)

Click  HERE to download the FULL 25×25 vision paper (25% renewables for heating the northeast by 2025)

Click HERE for a short paper on “Trends in Search Engine Queries on Heating Oil and Wood Pellets”

Click HERE for a copy of the Maine Governor’s Wood-to-Energy Task Force Report.