Wood Bioenergy Conference & Expo


March 10-11, 2020

Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta, GA

The Educational Event for the Wood Bioenergy Industry, Including Wood Pellets, Biomass Power, Biofuels, In-Woods Chipping, Raw Material Procurement




BIO 2022

Wood Bioenergy Conference Featured 28 Speakers

Twenty-eight speakers, 46 equipment exhibitor companies, and three university exhibitors participated in the sixth Wood Bioenergy Conference & Expo held March 10-11 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center. Attendance, including speakers, exhibitor personnel, producers, consultants and academia, hit 200.

The event, hosted by Wood Bioenergy magazine and Georgia Research Institute, featured a diverse range of presentations, including talks from Scott Bax, chief operating officer of Pinnacle Renewable Energy; John Keppler, chairman and CEO of Enviva; Jose Gonzalez, senior principal with AFRY; and Bill Strauss, president of FutureMetrics.

BIO 2020 News

Is It Time to Move to Pellets 2.0?

What is the technical and economic status of advanced pellet technologies? Five experts will discuss the subject during the Wood Bioenergy Conference & Expo scheduled March 10-11 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia. William Strauss, president of...

Exhibitors From Across the Wood Energy Industry

In the year of perfect vision, the 2020 Wood Bioenergy Conference & Expo will feature approximately 50 exhibitors from across the wood energy industry. And companies are still coming in to exhibit right now! You can view the entire current lineup...

Industry Activism: Keeping the Environmentalists at Bay

Danny Dructor, executive vice president of American Loggers Council, will provide an in-woods biomass industry perspective during the Wood Bioenergy Conference & Expo in Atlanta. Dructor will address the status of the logging ranks, how loggers have taken to new...

2020 Keynoters

Partnering for Growth

Scott Bax, Chief Operating Officer, Pinnacle Renewable Energy

People, safety and culture are at the heart of Pinnacle’s growing wood pellet business. Over the past two decades, Pinnacle has partnered with some of the world’s leading forestry companies to build safe, reliable and productive wood pellet plants. As of 2020, Pinnacle has partnered with five different forestry companies—Westervelt, Tolko, Canfor, West Fraser and Two Rivers Lumber—at six different pellet plants in both Canada and the United States. Two of these facilities are currently under construction, one in High Level, Alberta, Canada and the other in Demopolis, Alabama. These partnerships have allowed Pinnacle to focus on using sawmill residuals in its pellet production, providing our partners with a reliable home for their residuals and providing our customers with quality pellets safely and on time.

Dynamics of the Global Pellet Market and Impact to North American Supply

José González, Senior Principal, ÄF Pöyry​

The demand for wood pellets globally is largely developing in two distinct regions, Europe and Asia-Pacific, but they also have some upcoming challenges. The European industrial pellet market offers stable and reliable off-take; however, with incentive schemes in the UK and the Netherlands set to end around 2027 demand in this market could be facing a decline, although with an upside as there is still need for flexible low-carbon power generation and some countries have committed to exit coal, but whether biomass will take its place is still rather uncertain. As a result many producers are now looking toward Asia-Pacific, where demand in South Korea and Japan is expected to grow considerably in the coming years. Though there is still uncertainty as to the exact extent of the market, requirements for supply volumes are substantial, and in particular Japanese customers have shown that they value reliable supply sources, which puts North America on top of their shopping list. This demand is also expected to mainly develop before the likely contraction of the European market in 2027, leading to an important question for many North American pellet producers: Which market should they prioritize?

How Renewable Wood Energy Can Help Solve the Climate Crisis

John Keppler, Chairman & CEO, Enviva

There is no question that the greatest challenge facing us today is the growing climate crisis. As we turn to all the tools in our arsenal, the science is clear on the need for renewable energy to help meet our shared climate goals. In his remarks, John provides an overview of the role that Enviva and the renewable wood bioenergy industry play as a part of a broader, modern solution that addresses many of the country’s most pressing environmental and economic concerns.

Differences on How Biomass Is Produced and Delivered in Europe vs. the U.S.

Raul Kirjanen, CEO, Graanul Invest

Graanul Invest, with the acquisition of pellet production assets in Texas, is producing pellets now on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The founder and CEO elaborates on the differences the way biomass is sourced, processed and delivered on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. He also looks at what are the implications of these differences in the future and how they affect the business now and in the future.

Non-Wood Bioenergy Crops + Wood for Sustainable Energy Production

Wendy Owens, CEO, Hexas Biomass

Sustainable, closed-loop bioenergy crops can supplement or replace wood in a variety of bioenergy applications. One such crop is giant reed. It is perennial and fast growing, with high yields year-over-year. It is highly pest-resistant, grows in different climates and soil types, tolerates drought, is an EPA-approved bioenergy crop, and has low ecological demand. In direct combustion, testing has shown giant reed burns at about 8,000 BTU/lb. and, when torrefied, giant reed burns at around 10,400 BTU/lb., a significantly higher energy density than other bioenergy crops. This presentation discusses the benefits of supplementing wood bioenergy material with a sustainable bioenergy crop to achieve equal energy production levels and potentially lower cost. Past initiatives to replace coal with torrefied giant reed for long-term energy production are discussed. An overview of raw material supply, logistics, and production that can support long-term contracts and ease wood bioenergy supply demands while having a carbon negative environmental impact are presented.

Executing Projects in the Digital Age

Bijan Shams, President, Cogent Industrial Technologies

The digital age is having a transformational impact enabling industrial operations with a competitive advantage. This presentation shows how deployment of digital platforms is significantly improving the management of projects and how these platforms are transitioned from project to operations to manage and improve operational performance. Bijan shares the complexity and challenges of delivering a project and managing post-project operational performance issues and how digital platforms can significantly improve the outcome of both as well as provide a platform for Industry 4.0 initiatives.

What is the Future for Industrial Wood Pellets?

Dr. William Strauss, President, FutureMetrics

The industrial wood pellet market grew from 5 million metric tons in 2010 to more than 22 million metric tons in 2019. Among the major producing and exporting nations, the U.S. is the largest exporter of wood pellets. Bill discusses the expected evolution of carbon emissions reduction policies around the world that will support current demand and will support future demand growth. He also talks about where that demand for pellets will grow, by how much it could grow, and how, where and why new pellet factories will be built to match demand. The talk includes a discussion of sustainability and how that is necessary for the industry to credibly supply a low-carbon solid fuel alternative to coal.

Using Data Mining and Big Data to Assess Risk in the Biomass Supply Chain

Dr. Timothy Young, Professor, The University of Tennessee, Center for Renewable Carbon

Predictive analytics, data mining and the use of big data are paramount to success for business endeavors of today. Data mining and big data are fundamental to the fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0., i.e., where computers and automation come together in a new way, with remote connectivity to computer systems equipped with machine learning algorithms that are predictive. The bioenergy and sustainable biomaterials industries exist in highly competitive commodity markets, where competitive advantage is sought by lowering the final costs of manufactured product. This presentation outlines the use of advanced data mining analytics using big data that are fused from a multitude of geospatial, climatology, demographic, and geophysical data sources to assess “cost-risk” in the biomass supply chain. Advanced data mining analytics is used to predict optimal locations for bioenergy plants in the Eastern United States.

2020 Sessions

Speaker presentations can be downloaded here. Please note that a password is required.


(Rooms B-C)


8:20-8:25 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks and Keynoters Introduction
—Jessica Johnson, Senior Associate Editor, Wood Bioenergy

8:30-8:50 a.m.
Combating Misinformation Against Renewable Biomass Energy
—Brian Rogers, National Spokesperson, Future Forest + Jobs

8:55-9:15 a.m.
Health of the Logging Ranks and Staying Ahead of Environmental Encroachment
—Danny Dructor, Executive Vice President, American Loggers Council

9:20-9:40 a.m.
Community, Environmental, Economic, and Social Perceptions about Pellet Producers in the U.S. South
—Dr. Richard Vlosky, Director, Louisiana Forest Products Development Center, School of Natural Resources, Louisiana State University

9:20-9:40 a.m.
Wood is the Most Carbon Friendly and the Least Expensive Feedstock for Electricity Generation
—Dr. Puneet Dwivedi, Associate Professor Forest Sustainability, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia

(Rooms B-C)

10:40-10:45 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks and Introductions
—Rich Donnell, Conference Co-Chair; Editor-in-Chief, Wood Bioenergy

10:50-11:15 a.m.
How Renewable Wood Energy Can Help Solve the Climate Crisis
—John Keppler, Chairman & CEO, Enviva

11:20-11:45 a.m.
Partnering for Growth
—Scott Bax, Chief Operating Officer, Pinnacle Renewable Energy

(Rooms B-C)

1:05-1:10 p.m.
General Remarks and Introductions
—Dan Shell, Senior Editor, Wood Bioenergy

1:15-1:40 p.m.
What is the Future for Industrial Wood Pellets?
—William Strauss, President and Founder, FutureMetrics

1:45-2:10 p.m.
Differences on How Biomass is Produced and Delivered in Europe vs. the U.S.
—Raul Kirjanen, CEO, Graanul Invest


(Room B)

2:40-2:45 p.m.
Moderator Remarks: Is is Time to Move to Pellets 2.0? What is the Technical and Economic Status of Advanced Pellet Technologies?
—William Strauss, President and Founder, FutureMetrics

2:50-3:10 p.m.
Advanced Pellet Fuel from a Proven Technology
—Bjorn Halvard Knappskog, CEO, Arbaflame

3:15-3:35 p.m.
Current Status of Torrefaction Technology
—Andrew Johnson, Vice President, TSI

3:40-4:00 p.m.
Realizing the Green Gold with BioTrac Continuous Steam Explosion System
—Mats Arnberg, Director, Biomass Conversion, Valmet

4:05-4:25 p.m.
Chemo-Mechanical Cellulose Explosion
—Tim Wagler, CEO, Trinity Green Derivative Products

(Room C)

2:40-3:05 p.m.
EPA’s Final ACE Rule and Its Bioenergy Implications
—Scott Osbourn, Principal, Trinity Consultants

3:10-3:35 p.m.
Catalytic Removal of VOCs and HAPs at Wood Pellet Plants
—Grigorii Bunimovich, Owner & COO, Matros Technologies

3:40-4:05 p.m.
Advancement in WESP Design for Dryer Particulate Control
—Rodney Schwartz, Vice President Sales & Business Development Americas, Durr Systems

4:10-4:35 p.m.
The Quest for the BEST in Pellet Mill Air Emission Control
—Rodney Pennington, Senior Director, NESTEC

(Pine Room)

2:40-3:05 p.m.
The Combustible Dust Hazard Analysis
—Jeff Nichols, Managing Partner, Industrial Fire Prevention

3:10-3:35 p.m.
Total Dust Management – Production Done Safely
—Greg Bierie, Sales & Technical Specialist, Benetech USA


(Rooms B-C)

8:20-8:25 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks and Introductions
—Fred Kurpiel, Conference Co-Chairman; President, Georgia Research Institute

8:30-8:50 a.m.
Dynamics of the Global Pellet Market and Impact to North American Supply
—José González, Senior Principal, ÄF Pöyry​

8:55-9:15 a.m.
Executing Projects in the Digital Age
—Bijan Shams, President, Cogent Technologies

9:20-9:40 a.m.
Non-Wood Bioenergy Crops + Wood for Sustainable Energy Production
—Wendy Owens, CEO, Hexas Biomass

9:45-10:05 a.m.
Using Data Mining and Big Data to Assess Risk in the Biomass Supply Chain
—Dr. Timothy Young, Professor, The University of Tennessee, Center for Renewable Carbon

(Room B)

10:40-11:05 a.m.
North American Timberland and Forest Industry Capital Investment Trends
—Andrew Copley, Project Manager/Senior Analyst, Forisk Consulting

11:10-11:35 a.m.
Hurricane Michael’s Impact on Timber Supplies
—Devon Dartnell, Director, Market Analysis & Research, Georgia Forestry Commission

11:40 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
Forest Utilization Within a Circular Bioeconomy
—Dick Baldwin, Managing Partner, Oak Creek Investment

(Room C)

10:40-10:45 a.m.
Moderator Remarks and Introductions
—Harold Arnold, President, Fram Renewable Fuels

10:50-11:10 a.m.
Using Knowledge Management Initiatives to Achieve Successful Project Implementation
—Justin Price, Principal, Evergreen Engineering

11:15-11:35 a.m.
Project Execution – Modern Tools and Classic Principles
—Scott Stamey, Vice President/Sr. Project Manager, Mid-South Engineering

We Know a Thing or Two Because We’ve Seen a Thing or Two
—Tom Lepak, VP Business Developement, Casey Industrial

(Pine Room)

10:40-11:05 a.m.
Smart Material Handling – Good Designs Are NOT More Expensive
—Tim Brown, Business Development Manager, Biomass Engineering & Equipment

11:10-11:35 a.m.
The Lifeblood of Your Plant
—Peter Smyth, Industry Sales Manager, C.C. Jensen

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