Info & Links
Hardwood vs. Softwood ... which makes better pellets?
For wood stoves and fireplaces, it is true that hardwood is the preferred fuel because it is denser, it has a lower moisture content, burns longer and has hotter coals. As softwood tends to burn hotter initially and is easier to light it will not burn as long. However, when it comes to pellet stoves, it is the quality of the wood pellet rather than the species that truly makes a difference. A premium quality wood pellet will have approximately 8000 BTUs per pound with up to 8% moisture and a minimum bulk density of 40 lbs per cubic foot.
Click here to read the article "Quality Pellets Make The Difference." (105 Kb PDF)
First Biomass Pellet Mill in United States to Receive FSC/Rainforest Alliance Certification
As reported by the Rainforest Alliance on June 18, 2009:
The Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program has certified the first biomass pellet mill in the United States to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards, a significant step in the FSC's entry into renewable energy sources. Curran Renewable Energy, LLC, based in Massena, New York, is the first FSC Chain-of-Custody certified producer and distributor of wood pellets for national and international markets. Produced by compressing pulverized dry biomass -- in this case from wood -- biomass pellets are an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional energy sources like coal, which emits more carbon dioxide (the gas largely responsible for global warming) when burned for fuel.
"With global concerns over the world's dependence on fossil fuels, governments and businesses are looking for renewable energy alternatives," explains Richard Donovan, Rainforest Alliance chief of forestry. "The certification of the first biomass pellet mill in the United States opens up a new industry to the FSC system. FSC-certified products can be found in all wood and paper markets including building materials, decking, flooring, packaging, furniture, books, magazines and business papers."
"With the increasing importance of biomass as a source of energy, businesses are recognizing the risks that could result from placing increased pressure on finite forest resources to fill the demand for their production," explains Dave Bubser, SmartWood regional manager for the Rainforest Alliance. "The FSC/Rainforest Alliance certification acts as a guarantee to consumers and producers that their efforts to promote energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not compromised by destructive impacts to forests, communities and wildlife that can result from overharvesting. Curran Renewable Energy's efforts establish FSC certification as a guide for balancing environmental and social values with the production of forest-based biofuels."
By making the commitment to FSC certification, Curran Renewable Energy is leading the way for other biomass energy producers by sourcing from well-managed forests that conserve biodiversity and ensure long-term productivity. Curran's FSC/Rainforest Alliance Certified wood pellets use wood fiber from FSC-certified forests in northern New York State. These certified forests have undergone rigorous FSC forest management certification processes. The FSC-certified wood is harvested by Seaway Timber Harvesting Inc., a family-owned business based in the northern Adirondack region of New York, run by Patrick, Timothy and Lee Curran. Seaway Timber Harvesting Inc. has been in the forestry business for 19 years.
"We have been harvesting FSC timber on land that is either managed or owned by Fountain Forestry, LandVest, New York State and Northwood Forest Consultants all in New York State," said Patrick Curran, president and CEO of Seaway Timber Harvesting Inc. and Curran Renewable Energy. "Over the past several years, we have seen demand increase for FSC fiber in both the paper and lumber industry. We feel this demand will carry over into the wood pellet market, giving us a better opportunity to develop within that market."
Click here to link to complete article.
NY biomass plant first to achieve FSC standards certification
As reported by Lisa Gibson in the July 2009 BIOMASS Magazine:
Curran Renewable Energy LLC in Massena, N.Y., is the first biomass mill in the nation to receive Forest Stewardship Council chain-of-custody certification from the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program.
Chain-of-custody certification guarantees that wood used in Curran Renewable Energy’s pellets comes from certified, responsibly managed forestlands and is tracked throughout the supply chain from the forest to the consumer. Consumers can look for the FSC label on wood products to know they are supporting forest management that protects biodiversity.
Click here to link to complete article.
How to Use Curran’s Animal Bedding Pellets
Our horse and cow owners tell us the best way to use our animal bedding pellets is to follow these steps:
- Start with a clean stall… right down to the floor.
- Spread the contents of four or five bags (40 lbs each) in the stall so you have about 2” of pellets covering about 75% of the floor area. (The pellets will expand in the next step.)
- Lightly moisten the pellets with water. (The actual amount of water you’ll need will depend on the humidity.) That breaks down the compacted pellet form into the wood bedding flakes – fluffing up to nearly 4x their original depth within hours after moistening and even more over the next few days.
- Remove manure / urine saturated bedding as you normally would. Then, once a week, spread one bag of pellets evenly over the bedding to replace the bedding you’ve removed. No need to moisten with water – the pellets should fluff up without it.
- The recommendation from those who use pellet bedding is to strip the stalls once every two or three months instead of weekly. Starting at step #1, above.
Determining the Amount of Heating Pellets You'll Need
You can check with your pellet stove manufacturer or installer for recommendations. But, another way to calculate the amount you’ll need is to base it on what you’ve used for fuel in the past. That way, you can take into account how well insulated your house is, how warm you like the temperature to be, etc.
According to the Forest Products Laboratory, it would take 118.26 gallons of #2 Fuel Oil to provide the same heating energy (115,000 Btu/gal) as one ton of Premium Wood Pellets. So, if you used 500 gallons of #2 fuel oil last winter, you’ll need 4.23 tons of pellets.
For additional information and fuel comparison calculations, click here to access the TechLine “Fuel Value Calculator” PDF with a link to an easy-to-use spreadsheet, developed by the USDA’s Forest Products Laboratory.
The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.
Central to their efforts is independent third-party certification, which assures consumers that the wood products they purchase come from responsibly managed forests, where biodiversity is conserved and local communities are supported.
To visit the website of the Rainforest Alliance, please click here.
To learn more about their forestry standards, please visit their Sustainable Forestry page.
Forest Stewardship Council
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.
Established in 1993 as a response to concerns over global deforestation, FSC is widely regarded as one of the most important initiatives of the last decade to promote responsible forest management worldwide.
FSC is a certification system that provides internationally recognized standard setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services to companies, organizations, and communities interested in responsible forestry.
The FSC label provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment as well as providing ongoing business value.
To visit the FSC website, please click here.
Or, click here to download / print a PDF explaining the FSC organization. (221 KB)
SmartWood Certification and Verification
As the world's leading Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forest management certifier, SmartWood sets the international gold standard for credibility in auditing environmentally and socially responsible forestry. Find out why forestry operations choose SmartWood as their certifier.
The Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program offers a diverse set of certification and verification services. While each of these services has a different focus -- ranging from Forest Stewardship Council certification, to verification of legality, to the management of high conservation value forests -- they all benefit from the rigor and expertise of the SmartWood team.
Pellet Fuels Institute
Curran Renewable Energy is a member of the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI). PFI is a non-profit association that serves the pellet industry, which is comprised of pellet mills, pellet appliance manufacturers and industry suppliers. The Institute is active in educating consumers about the convenience and practicality of using wood pellet fuel in both residential and commercial applications.
In addition to providing invaluable information about wood pellets, where they are available, comparisons of fuel costs and environmental benefits, PFI is also responsible for developing the standards that bring consistency to pellet fuel for an improved consumer experience.
To learn more about PFI, visit their website by clicking here.
A great source of information is also available on their FAQ page.
For details on PFI’s wood pellet standards, click here.
Or, download PFI’s informational piece “Pellet Fuel: Future of American Energy”. PDF (588 KB)
Twin Ports Testing
Founded in 1972 as a nondestructive testing services company, Twin Ports Testing (TPT) has since expanded into providing Geotechnical Engineering, Construction materials testing, Environmental Testing & Consulting, Industrial Hygiene, & Chemistry Laboratory Services. Twin Ports Testing (TPT) fuels analysis laboratory services for a variety of fuels from standard coal, wood and petroleum products to specialized refuse-derived and bio-derived energy products.
TPT is one of the participating testing labs associated with the Pellet Fuels Institute’s wood pellet standards. To see the results of Curran Renewable Energy’s wood pellet tests by TPT, click here (PDF 279 KB).
To learn more about Twin Ports Testing’s services, click here.
Seaway Timber Harvesting Inc.
Seaway Timber Harvesting is a company located in northern New York State that provides logs to sawmills, produces wood chips used in papermaking and supplies the wood pellet production of Curran Renewable Energy. The shareholders and board of directors of both companies are Patrick Curran, Timothy Curran and Lee Curran.
Seaway Timber, in its timber harvesting business, has also acquired over 16,000 acres of land in northern New York with plans to sell some of the land on the open market. To learn more about some of the properties currently available, please click here. The company will finance up to 2/3 of the value of most properties and additional details are available by contacting: Curran Development Inc, 20 Commerce Drive, Massena NY 13662; or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org