Biomass system revives Canadian sawmill

By Luke Geiver | May 14, 2012

Canfor Corp. will use biomass energy to revitalize a shuttered sawmill in British Columbia.

In 2009, the Radium sawmill was shut down, but with the help of a $40 million investment plan, it is set to reopen. According to Christine Kennedy, company spokesperson, the Radium mill site will now include a reciprocating grate system that will burn bark and hog fuel to generate heat. The system will utilize hot oil fed through fin pipe to dry lumber. “The exclusive use of the energy at this point is to heat lumber dry kilns,” she said. “Using wood residuals in this way replaces the use of propane and thereby reduces costs.”  

Nearly $38.5 million will go toward the Radium mill in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, and the remaining money will go toward another Canfor Corp. mill in the region. “These investments are critical to support the restart of our Radium division,” said Don Kayne, president and CEO of the company. “The fiber in the Kootenay region is amongst the best in the world, and these investments will secure our ability to make top-quality products here to supply global markets.”

The improvements at the facility are underway, and the mill is expected to officially startup again in the fourth quarter of this year. Canfor has other operations in Alberta and Quebec in Canada, as well as Washington State, North Carolina and South Carolina in the U.S.