Biomass Energy Lab’s Chris Wiberg discusses the inception and evolution of wood pellet quality standards, plant certification and industry trends.
When it comes to the science of biomass combustion, no parameter is more complicated than ash fusion.
An update on the biomass test methods currently under review by the ISO TC 238 group.
Click here to read the full article published in Pellet Mill Magazine.
If you ever wondered what the term "Pass Through Pallet" meant, TP's Matt McGowan gives you an excellent definition in his February HT Newsletter. This was also republished in the February issue of Western Pallet Magazine.
Pass Through Pallets Defined
The "Pass Through" pallet process has been employed by some companies for years while for others it is a new concept. The "Pass Through" pallet, as it is commonly called in the U.S., is what ISPM 15 terms as "Reused".
ISPM 15 4.3.1 defines “Reused" (Pass Through) WPM as:
"A unit of wood packaging material that has been treated and marked in accordance with this standard and that has not been repaired, remanufactured or otherwise altered does not require re-treatment or re-application of the mark throughout the service life of the unit."
This definition is synonymous with how the "Pass Through" pallet has been defined. Therefore, going forward, we will consider the terms "Pass Through" and “Reused” as describing the same thing.
Typically, there is a mixture of repaired and unrepaired pallets that come into a recycler. Facilities implementing a "Pass Through" program can sort these pallets and segregate those that qualify as "Reused" according to ISPM 15. Used pallets that meet the definition of “Reused” can be shipped without re-treating or mark obliteration. Any used pallets received at a facility that do not fit the definition of “Reused”, must have the marks obliterated. This includes any pallets received by a facility that appear to have been previously repaired or altered. Any used pallets that do not qualify as a "Pass Through", but need to be ISPM 15 conforming, will need to be heat treated before the treating facility's IPPC mark can be applied. Facilities that want to put their own IPPC mark on segregated "Pass Through" pallets will need to obliterate any previous IPPC marks and then heat treat them just like any other repaired pallet on site in order for their own mark to be applied. Keep in mind that once a facility places their IPPC mark on pallets, they are responsible for all areas of conformance on the pallets including bark. Any facility monitored for ISPM 15 conformance may sort for "Pass Throughs" based on the "Reused" section of ISPM 15, but a written addendum should be in place to describe how these pallets are being processed.
If a facility is not in the IPPC program, they are not allowed to represent any pallets coming from their operation as IPPC conforming since they are not monitored by an ALSC accredited agency. This includes "Reused" pallets. The only way an unmonitored facility can legally represent pallets coming from them as IPPC conforming is by having proof the pallets were processed by a facility that is monitored in the IPPC program whether they are purchased from the monitored facility or the monitored facility heat treats and marks the pallets as IPPC conforming for the unmonitored facility.
Recyclers should have a solid knowledge of what signs of repair disqualify a pallet for the "Pass Through" program. These include evidence of previous nailing, differences in components (age, color, size, species), new nails in components, multiple IPPC marks, presence of plugs, etc. A pallet with any of these characteristics would be disqualified from being considered a "Pass Through".
Understanding what is required for conformance related to the "Pass Thorough" / "Reused" program will help any facility to successfully determine if utilizing it will be profitable for them.
*to see the full issue of the February issue of the Western Pallet Magazine, click here.
For wood pellet manufacturing operations struggling with ash and slagging, the solution can often be found in the management of potential contamination sources. It's important to understand differences between tree species, and varying inclusion rates of bark, dirt and dust.
Producers who manufacture wood pellets for domestic heating markets, export heating markets or overseas power companies likely intend to achieve certain quality criteria.
Timber Products Inspection, Inc. - Delivering Confidence for 50 Years
In 2019, Timber Products Inspection, Inc. (TP) celebrates 50 years serving the forest products industry. Over the years, TP has grown to service clientele in 16 countries, and oversee quality audits involving over 20 different wood products including lumber, pressure treated wood, glulam, OSB, panels, pallets, MDF, CLT, building logs, utility poles, trusses and wood pellets. TP holds inspection and laboratory accreditations from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the International Accreditation Service (IAS) and the American Lumber Standards Company (ALSC), among others.
TP was founded by Howard Powell in 1969. His vision for creating an inspection company based on professional client service quickly grew into a national company. In 1994 Mr. Powell sold the company to three of his employees, one of which eventually sold his shares to the current two owners – Jim Respess and Ronnie Williams.
Under the direction of the new ownership group, TP quickly expanded beyond its core business of lumber grading, into many other facets of the forest products industry.
In 1990, TP was approached by the National Wood Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) looking for a third-party inspection agency to monitor the Specialized Pallets Engineered for Quality (SPEQ) program. This opened the door for TP to explore the opportunity for pallet inspections. This service continued to develop in 2001, as the European Union began to required export wood packaging to be heat treated to eliminate invasive insects. In 2000, TP purchased Florida Lumber Inspection Service, bolstering its presence in the pressure treated wood market. In 2004, TP Engineering was created, offering traditional structural and civil engineering services as well as acting in a support function for TP and their clients.
As the forest products industry continued to evolve, wood pellet fuel became recognized as a viable renewable fuel source. This prompted TP to once again expand to meet the testing needs of the biomass industry. In 2011 TP entered into a joint venture with Control Union, USA to form Biomass Energy Lab (BEL). BEL was formed to meet the needs of the wood pellet export market by providing testing and certification services.
Later in 2011, TP agreed to acquire the approximately 300 wood packaging accounts of the National Hardwood Lumber Association.
Expanding their global reach, TP acquired Canadian Softwood Inspection Agency Inc. (CSI) in Langley, British Columbia Canada in 2016. This allowed TP to branch their professional inspection services into Canada.
In 2017, Timber Products Technical Services (TPTS) was formed with the sole purpose of offering greater value-added training services for TP clientele.
TP continued to grow and in early 2019 acquired Stafford Consulting and Inspection Services, LLC. This acquisition of approximately 300 clients directly added growth to our HT, WPM and truss divisions.
Today, TP employs over 120 full time employs including field staff, lab staff and administrative staff. Each employee is excited about TP’s future in the wood products’ industry. As a responsible partner, TP looks forward to delivering to clients, employees, and the industries we serve the confidence to drive value through the effective use of our diverse professional team. Looking back over the 50-year history of the company, Ronnie Williams noted that “none of this would have been possible without our cherished industry partnerships, dedicated inspectors, administrative staff, and program managers”.