In my last column, I discussed various guidelines adopted by Canadian provinces for forest biomass harvesting.  I recently came across an interesting report produced in a country that is further down the road relative to Canada in the development of its bioenergy-from-biomass industry and its regulation.
If you could bank potential, the forest biomass sector would already be rich off of the biofuel sector.  After all, there is no shortage of promising technology that will use mountains of biomass as raw material to create renewable fuels and other bioproducts.
Oct. 14, 2009, Greenville, SC – The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities has announced the completion of 45 case studies of “best-in-class” community-scale wood-to-energy systems selected from projects across Canada, Europe, and the United States.
Oct. 13, 2009, Seattle, WA – The global trade of wood chips is down 26% in 2009, as pulpmills reduce production worldwide, reports Wood Resources International.
Sep. 30, 2009, Washington, D.C. - Biotechnology companies pursuing new sources of bioenergy and bioproducts will highlight the industry’s progress at the 2009 Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy, to be held November 8-11, 2009, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The theme song of a popular prairie-based sitcom, called Corner Gas, is Not a Lot Goin’ On. It naturally included a line about the opportunity to watch your dog run away for three days.
Biomass and bioenergy are hot topics these days. There has been so much interest in the sector over the last couple of years that entire conferences are being dedicated to the topic at a breakneck pace. And even at conferences targeted at other industries, such as the ailing forest industry, biomass is stealing the show.
It has been clear for some time that any major growth in the Canadian wood pellet industry will come from new fibre sources.
There are three basic methods for handling forest residues:transportation of loose residues, compaction, or comminution.  For the most part, transporting residues in a loose form is not practical or economical.  The payload is very low, restricting their economical transport to very short haul distances.
As energy prices become less predictable and more prohibitive, many greenhouses are turning to biomass fuels to meet their heating needs and provide cost savings.  Energy costs can make up 30 to 50% of greenhouse operating costs for Canadian vegetable producers, and reducing these costs can help growers to meet their bottom line.
Ottawa, ON – In December 2008, the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) laid out five urgent priorities that the federal government
Toronto, ON – A report released by the Atlantica BioEnergy Task Force in December 2008 says that actions must be taken to implement renewable energy technologies in the forest products industry of the Atlantica Region (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Maine).
From a woodlands perspective, we often perceive the forest as the start of the supply chain. However, in any marketplace, the customer has the last say. For forest-origin biomass, the mill is the customer, so the mill’s requirements play a key role in the design of supply chain logistics.
Not everything worthwhile is easy. Take the switch to biomass. Although often beneficial over the long term, it’s not always the easiest process and may require a lot of experimenting and fine-tuning.
If forest biomass for energy is a brand, we’d best start taking more care in building it. As recent events show, there are factors outside our direct control that may conspire to damage the image of forest biomass as a reliable, consistent alternative to fossil fuels.
There is no doubt that the use of forest biomass is expanding across Canada. I have been researching forest biomass since 1978, albeit on an on-and-off basis as forest bioenergy has been a hot-and-cold topic for the forest industry over the past 30 years.
As the costs of fossil fuels escalate and climate change policies come into force, the use of woody biomass for energy is becoming an increasingly attractive option.
Many studies have examined the harvest of biomass (dead and nonmerchantable wood) for energy production or to reduce fire hazards, but few have included the lessons learned from the loggers.
The forest bioenergy sector is developing rapidly across Canada, and great efforts are being devoted to the development of new technologies for converting forest biomass to energy.
Sustainability means many things for biomass. First, there’s site sustainability, or the question of how much we can harvest, where, and how.
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