Business Briefs

By BBI Staff | February 01, 2018

Portz joins PFI as executive director 
The Pellet Fuels Institute has hired Tim Portz to serve as the organization’s executive director. Portz, based in Minneapolis, joins PFI with a wealth of industry knowledge from his previous role as longtime executive editor of Biomass Magazine and Pellet Mill Magazine.

Portz has been a renewable industry observer, reporter, and commentator for nearly a decade. Throughout his career, Portz has established himself as a consistent and outspoken champion for biomass energy. During his tenure at BBI International, Portz was also responsible for developing the agendas of the International Biomass Conference & Expo and the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop, developing strong relationships with experts and vendors across those industries. Prior to his career in renewables, Portz worked in sales and sales management for RR Donnelley, a global printing company. Portz attended the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor’s degree of fine arts.

Enviva forms new joint venture, acquires plant
Enviva Holdings LP’s development subsidiary, Enviva Development Holdings LLC, entered into a new joint venture, Enviva JV Development Company, LLC with affiliates of The John Hancock Life Insurance to acquire, develop and construct wood pellet production plants and deep-water marine terminals in the Southeast U.S. The new joint venture will be managed by Enviva and supported by the Hancock Renewable Energy Group, a unit of the Hancock Natural Resource Group.

In addition, the joint venture has agreed to acquire a wood pellet production plant in Greenwood, South Carolina, and related assets from the Navigator Company, S.A., a large Portuguese paper and pulp company, subject to certain customary closing conditions. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2018.

Bogers named B&W Vølund managing director
Effective Jan. 2, Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc. appointed Koen W. Bogers as managing director of its Denmark-based renewable energy subsidiary, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund.

Bogers most recently served as senior executive vice president of Siemens Building Technologies’ Middle East division, located in Dubai. Before assuming his current role in 2015, he joined Siemens in 1996, serving in positions including project management positions in the Power Generation and Oil & Gas divisions and managing director positions in the Industry Solutions and Building Technologies divisions of Siemens Netherlands.

Bogers holds master’s degrees in business economics from Erasmus University Rotterdam, and electrical engineering from the Technical University Delft. He will be based in B&W Vølund’s Glostrup, Denmark, office, near Copenhagen.

Rentech sells NEWP, Atikokan pellet plants
Lignetics of New England Inc. has purchased U.S. wood pellet business New England Wood Pellets from Rentech Inc., which recently filed for bankruptcy.

Lignetics will acquire substantially all of the NEWP assets, and assume certain specified liabilities of Rentech, for a purchase price of $35 million. The purchase of NEWP adds to Lignetics current annual capacity of 650,000 tons. The company purchased the Marth Companies in May, which included four pellet plants and trucking assets. The NEWP acquisition will bring Lignetics’ total pellet plant count to 12, with facilities located all across the U.S.

Rentech’s Atikokan facility will be purchased by Ontario Inc., an affiliate of True North Timber, a forest resources company in Ontario, according to Rentech’s bankruptcy filing. Pursuant to the Atikokan asset purchase agreement, Ontario Inc. has agreed to acquire substantially all of the assets and assume certain CAD$3.2 million.

Pinnacle Renewable Energy files for IPO in Canada
On Dec. 15, Canadian pellet producer Pinnacle Renewable Energy filed a preliminary prospectus with securities regulatory authorities in Canada for a proposed initial public offering (IPO) of common shares.

Information released by Pinnacle indicates the offering contemplates a primary offering of common shares from treasury and a secondary offering of common shares by certain existing shareholders, including entities affiliated with ONCAP, the middle-market private equity platform of Onex Corp. The offering is being co-led by CIBC Capital Markets and RBC Capital Markets, together with BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. and Scotia Capital Inc., as joint bookrunners, and National Bank Financial Inc., GMP Securities L.P., Raymond James Ltd. and HSBC Securities (Canada) Inc., as underwriters.

Pinnacle currently operates six pellet facilities, located in the British Columbia cities of Armstrong, Williams Lake, Meadowbank/Hixon, Houston, Burns Lake, and Lavington. The company also has a port terminal and new production facilities under development in Entwistle, Alberta, and Smithers, British Columbia.

Drax Urania plant begins pellet production
Drax Biomass Inc., a leading manufacturer of sustainably sourced compressed wood pellets, has begun startup production at its newest facility, LaSalle BioEnergy in Urania, Louisiana.

LaSalle BioEnergy will employ approximately 78 employees and is the third pellet plant in DBI’s portfolio, which also includes Morehouse BioEnergy in Bastrop, Louisiana, and Amite BioEnergy in Gloster, Mississippi. The wood pellet manufacturing facility, which is roughly 160 miles northwest of Baton Rouge can produce approximately 450,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year.

A series of upgrades and repairs have been ongoing at the plant since the acquisition in early April 2017, supporting a further investment of more than $20 million for the region. The asset was a strategic investment considering LaSalle BioEnergy’s proximity to an abundant wood basket and its production capacity that supports DBI’s strategy of increasing self-supply.

SCS Global Services Accredited for SBP Certification
SCS Global Services has become the third certification body to be accredited by Accreditation Services International for Sustainable Biomass Partnership certification services.

ASI, the appointed accreditation body for the SBP certification system, has undertaken a thorough assessment of the processes and procedures in place at SCS, and is satisfied that the accreditation requirements for the SBP certification system have been met.

The ASI accreditation process starts with a desk review of supporting documentation from the certification body, and is followed by an on-site head office assessment. The last stage is a witness assessment of a certification body audit. A recommendation decision is then submitted to the ASI Accreditation Committee, with the final accreditation decision taken by the ASI managing director.
As of Jan. 1, certification bodies must become accredited by ASI if they wish to provide SBP certification services to their clients and prospective clients. The requirement applies to all certification bodies, including those that are currently SBP-approved.

Pellet exports highlight of Port of Prince Rupert 2017 cargo
Cargo moving through the Port of Prince Rupert rose to a record volume of 24.1 million metric tons (MT) in 2017, anchored by 26 percent growth in its intermodal container business and growth of dry bulk cargo volumes.

Overall tonnage through the port was up 28 percent from 2016, and exceeds the previous record high of 23 million MT set in 2013. One of the 2017 terminal highlights includes Prince Rupert’s Westview Terminal, where wood pellets saw a significant increase, up 22 percent to 1.1 million MT, representing the export of nearly half of Canada’s entire wood pellet production.

Adams joins BTEC board of directors
Maura Adams, program director for the Northern Forest Center, has been elected to the Biomass Thermal Energy Council board of directors. Adams will join the group of thermal biomass industry partners, advocates  and stakeholders in advancing the sustainable use of wood and agricultural biomass for clean, efficient heat and combined heat and power.

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council  is an association of biomass fuel producers, appliance manufacturers and distributors, supply chain companies and nonprofit organizations that view biomass thermal energy as a renewable, responsible, clean and energy-efficient pathway to meeting America’s energy needs. BTEC engages in research, education, and public advocacy for the fast-growing biomass thermal energy industry.

The Northern Forest Center stated it is thrilled for Maura as she joins the board, and added that her experience, expertise and determination will serve BTEC and its members well.