Canada funds British Columbia pellet, bioenergy projects

By Erin Voegele | January 18, 2018

Natural Resources Canada has awarded $6.45 million to support six projects in British Columbia that aim to promote innovation and diversification in forestry and support collaboration with Indigenous communities. Several of the projects address bioenergy.

“Technology and innovation have placed our forest sector at the threshold of a new era,” said Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr. “Adopting new ways of using renewable forest materials will help ensure that Canada’s forest sector continues to play a key role in our economy and contributes to efforts to address climate change.”

Pacific Bioenergy Prince George Limited Partnership was awarded $3.19 million to implement a biomass enhancement system that will allow for the use of diverse sources of biomass, including forest residuals, to produce high-quality wood pellets at its Prince George pellet plant. The cleaning system removes debris, such as dirt and rocks. According to Natural Resources Canada, integrating the system into the existing pellet plant will allow the use of more accessible and diverse fiber supply at costs that are more competitive. The process also reduces the potential of wild fires by removing forest biomass otherwise left in the forest to decompose. The project is expected to enhance job security for 52 existing employees, and create up to 14 new jobs in the Prince George area.

The Tsay Keh Dene CHP Biomass Energy project was awarded $25,000 to assess the feasibility of using bioenergy to reduce the reliance of the Tsay Keh Dene community on diesel fuel. The biomass plant will employ Organic Rankin Cycle technology, with fuel sourced from nearby forest tenures and excess debris from the Williston Reservoir. The funding will support the analysis of energy consumption and financial viability that will allow the community to develop a request for proposals to various clean energy companies.

The Gitxsan Development Corp. was awarded $1.165 million to implement a series of scans and activities to lay the foundation for the Gitxsan people to participate in and benefit from major resource projects occurring within, and near, their territory. The GDC are also scoping a proposed bioheat demonstration project that would service a hospital in Haida Gwaii, with local Indigenous partners, BC Hydro and BC Northern Health.

The Kwadacha First National was awarded $143,000 to support two projects. Natural Resource Canada awarded $98,000 to support a community combined-heat-and-power (CHP) bioenergy system that will be fueled with local forest biomass. Heat from the CHP plant will be used for a district energy system connected to the community schools and residences. An additional $45,000 will be used to undertake a review and prepare a report of the experiences and lessons learned from a successful green-energy initiative in the community that uses local beetle-killed timber to fuel a CHP plant. Kwadacha has discovered that finding ways to dispose of the piles of residual fine wood waste is a challenge associated with bioenergy heating. They will also complete a feasibility study to investigate solutions to utilize the wood waste that is byproduct of the bioenergy plant.

A full list of awards can be downloaded from the Natural Resources Canada website.