The U.S. Industrial Pellet Association’s fifth-annual Exporting Pellets Conference was held Sept. 20 to 22 in Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Fla., and Dome Technology acted as a sponsor and exhibitor again this year, as it has been since the conference began.
The international event—the only of its kind in the U.S. sponsored by and for the industrial wood-pellet industry—drew more than 400 attendees, including wood producers, companies who produce and ship pellets, pellet consumers in the United States and Europe and vendors who service the industry.
According to USIPA vice president of policy and operations Jessica Brooks, “The key message was that there are many opportunities in both the traditional and emerging markets for industrial wood pellets and the entire bioenergy industry.” The annual utilities panel and producers panel allowed the audience “to hear directly from the major players on their thoughts on the market and what we may see over the next six to 12 months,” she said. Also, a new panel highlighted developments for the pellet market, including novel opportunities the U.S. Clean Power Plan may provide the domestic pellet market.
Attendance guarantees opportunities for participants to meet and grow their networks, but another benefit is the chance to learn more about the future of the wood pellets. “Our conference brings together hundreds of industry leaders and experts. We strive to put together an engaging and robust agenda each year that keeps current with market trends,” Brooks said.
According to Dome Technology sales manager and event participant Lane Roberts, the dome itself has become an increasingly familiar centerpiece for wood-pellet storage and processing; many conference presentations included photos and details of completed Dome Technology projects—a fact pointed out by other attendees who have worked with Roberts and his Dome Technology co-workers in the past, he said.
“A lot of our customers are not the end users, but they are other equipment suppliers who look after our back—they like us, they trust us,” he said. “There are so many people who know about us. If you’re in wood pellets, it’s hard to miss us.”
Sponsors like Dome Technology are essential to conference success. “Our attendees are there not only to get market and policy updates, but also to network and do business with companies throughout the supply chain,” Brooks said. “An exhibit hall full of industry leaders like Dome Technology helps accomplish that goal.”
One attendee of note was Nigel Adams, a member of Parliament representing a portion of northern England where multiple major power plants operate, including Drax. Adams plays a role in leveling the political field between three entities: American forestry standards, the United Kingdom law, and the European Union regulations regarding global warming and reducing the carbon footprint, Roberts said.