May 30, 2012, Jonkoping, Sweden - There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the biomass and bioenergy opportunities in British Columbia, a sentiment shared by government officials, businesses, innovators and researchers at World Bioenergy 2012.
With nearly sixteen million hectares of land devastated by what Rolf Fyne referred to as the “Red Attack” and “Grey Attack,” there is a large supply of wood that could be used for wood pellets sitting in B.C. forests. That’s why Fyne, who is the Director of Business Development in Europe for the Government of British Columbia, is working to bring partners to the table for the construction of large-scale pellet plants in the province.
But the plans for large-scale pellet plants in B.C. can only happen under the purview of the European Union’s 20-20-20 plan, which could take the pellet supply for now. That would give the province the time to get their biomass operation evolved to the point where large-scale pellet operations would be needed at home.
The need for infrastructure at home was the other part of the message Fyne stressed, as British Columbia continues to look for greater use of alternative energy in the province. Small district heating centers are coming on board in communities already on the grid, but there are serious energy issues facing communities that are off the grid. B.C. Hydro sends large amounts of diesel fuel to provide electricity to those communities, which comes at a high cost. Investments in smaller wood pellet plants could solve that issue, and Fyne has identified a pair of Finnish companies at World Bioenergy that he believes could provide the right type of plant for use in these communities.
The growth of Canadian research and innovation in the field of bioenergy, stemming from British Columbia, has been on display at World Bioenergy. One of the Canadian entrants in the poster exhibition, PhD student Olga Petrov from the University of British Columbi, presented her research case entitled “Biomass-based energy systems in B.C.: District energy systems initiatives and applications.”
Her research focuses on three case studies: the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Project at UBC, the Community Energy System in the Revelstoke/Kootenay region and the Integrated Resource Recovery System at Dokside Green Energy in Victoria. She will evaluate these projects using an integrated modeling impact assessment methodology, and hopes to present her findings at World Bioenergy 2014.
On the innovation side, one of only three Canadian companies set up at World Bioenergy is InterWrap Papers Ltd. of Vancouver. General Manager Steve Sahaydak is promoting their BioBlanket product, which is used to dry fresh forest wood onsite to help reduce moisture before they are processed/chipped. Their primary clientele is located in Finland and Sweden, giving the company an opportunity to see many of their clients in person at World Bioenergy. Their products do have some users in Canada, but they hope that an emerging bioenergy market in Canada will help drive their local and national business interests.
With over 1,300 clean tech companies already operating in the province and 24 clean tech research centres and institutions, British Columbia is growing its presence in the world bioenergy marketplace.
Andrew Macklin is reporting from World Bioenergy 2012 in Jonkoping, Sweden on behalf of Canadian Biomass magazine.
For more coverage of World Bioenergy 2012, see Part 1 - Getting Started in Sweden, Part 2 - Strong Canadian Presence at World Bioenergy and Part 3 - The Future of fuels.