Wood Bio Conference Showcases ‘Energy That Works’

“I’m more impressed with this lineup of speakers than any we’ve had in the history of our event,” comments Rich Donnell, Co-Chairman of the eighth Wood Bioenergy Conference & Expo, which will be held Tuesday-Wednesday, March 12-13, at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

“We’ve tried to be very focused on the type of presentations we wanted and on the speakers giving them,” adds Donnell, who is also editor-in-chief of Wood Bioenergy magazine, the host of the event along with Georgia Research Institute. “A trend we’ve noticed with many other bioenergy events is that they’ve allowed really too many presentations and speakers and the overall event is somewhat vague and too broad. So we decided to be very particular, and go after the leading experts who can address the most important topics of the current day.”

The first morning starts off with three presentations from executives in the field of industrial wood pellets, representing Fram Renewable Fuels, Enviva and Graanul Invest. Harold Arnold, president of Fram, will look at the big picture of wood pellets—the effects of high inflation in a fixed contract world, the coming 2026 end of legacy subsidies in Europe, the Japanese demand, new technology, and potential new markets that producers may convert to. Brandi Colander, Senior VP and Chief Sustainability Officer at Enviva, will discuss the importance of a continued commitment to sourcing practices and sustainability practices given an expanding regulatory landscape and under increased scrutiny.

Nicholas Dottino, CEO of Graanul Invest, will address the growth avenues for biomass such as sustainable aviation fuel, advanced biofuels and the potential of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) in the journey to net zero. A longtime leading producer of wood pellets and heat-and-power plants in the Baltics, Graanul Invest entered North American production in recent years with a pellet facility in Woodville, Texas.

Alexander Koukoulas, director-bioindustry for AFRY Management Consulting, will speak about the current state of sustainable aviation fuels, and particularly the relationship between the aviation sector’s decarbonization and the demand for wood resources as low-carbon feedstock in SAF production.

Paul Schubert, CEO of Strategic Biofuels, will update the progress of his company’s operations in northern Louisiana for converting wood waste materials into transportation fuels, and the goal of developing a series of negative carbon footprint plants, including the capture of carbon dioxide emissions into permanent geologic sequestration.

Known for his grasp of the big picture for the wood bioenergy industry, Dane Floyd, CEO of Biomass Engineering & Equipment, will talk about “projects that predict the future,” pointing to the evolvement of several projects since the 2022 conference, their potential volumes and impacts to fiber allocation. He’ll speak on the incredible growth in the number and size of biochar projects, and address a fascinating project of wood expansion gases going directly to a turbine and genset, and he’ll look at the increased pace of small-scale CHP overseas.

Tyler Player, president of Player Design, Inc., and Wendy Owens, CEO of Hexas Biomass, in their respective presentations will address alternative raw materials, including a sugarcane-waste pellet facility that PDI is building for Delta Biofuel in Louisiana, while Owens speaks about the ongoing and future development of multiple co-products from wood and non-woody biomass sources.

Well know timber industry expert Seth Walker, senior manager of strategy with Rayonier, puts on the lens of a forest landowner to discuss policy incentives, silvicultural regimes and other considerations linked to opportunities such as SAF and BECCS.

And of course the man, the myth, the legend, William Strauss, president of FutureMetrics, will hone in on baseload and on-demand generation using carbon beneficial wood pellet fuel as an essential complement to any decarbonization strategy, and how it will be done in the U.S. over the next several years.

And of course there’s more. Go to: bioenergyshow.com/bio-2024 to read about additional speakers and their presentations.

Meanwhile 45 companies will exhibit their technologies and offerings in the Grand Ballroom North, which is immediately adjacent the presentation rooms.

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