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The History of the Wood Pellet Industry on the East Coast

Abstract

I can’t tell the story of pellets on the East Coast without a brief digression on the residential pellet market development that began out in the West in the 1980s. The State of Oregon was the major instigator of the industry as they were the first to begin regulating wood stove smoke emissions, or what I term “the social costs of alternative energy.” After the “oil crisis” that started in 1973, it seemed that anyone who could weld became a wood stove manufacturer. The use of wood for home heating had been on a constant decline since the end of World War Two, but the 1973 shortage reversed the decline. By the time we got into the 1980s, wood smoke was contributing to “brown cloud” in various air sheds, particularly in the West. Oregon, followed by the state of Washington, began to require wood stoves sold in their states meet certain emission standards. It didn’t take too long for the EPA to pick up on this, and by 1988 all wood stoves sold in the USA were required to meet certain standards. The second step of this regulation, effective in 1990 required non-catalytic stoves to emit no more than 7.5 g of smoke particulate per hour. Testing costs dramatically reduced the number of wood stove manufacturers. In 1978 in Sandpoint, Idaho some entrepreneurs build the first wood pellet plant in the USA to provide fuel for commercial applications. A fellow by the name of Collins developed the “Collins Hopper” which was a pellet burner-hopper configuration that could be installed on a wood stove. A couple other inventors entered the fray, Joe Traeger from Mount Angel, Oregon and Jerry Whitfield of Everett, Washington. Joe developed the Traeger stove, furnace and pellet grill and eventually sold the stoves to Earth Stove, and the furnaces to Pinnacle in BC. Jerry’s company, Pyro Industries, developed the Whitfield line of stoves and eventually sold to Lennox. Lennox eventually purchased the Earth Stove business.

Keywords

  • Nova Scotia
  • Wood Pellet
  • Pellet Fuel
  • Wood Smoke
  • Wood Stove

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Correspondence to Bruce Lisle .

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Lisle, B. (2013). The History of the Wood Pellet Industry on the East Coast. In: Jacobson, M., Ciolkosz, D. (eds) Wood-Based Energy in the Northern Forests. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-9478-2_9

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