WPAC Asian Wood Pellet Conference
February 16, 2021 at
New Horizons for Biomass: A look at Taiwan and other Asian opportunities
Speaker: Rick Harris, Skeena BioEnergy
Skeena BioEnergy operates one of Western Canada’s newest wood pellet plants. The plant is unique in that it predominantly uses the tree species Western Hemlock for feedstock. Western Hemlock grows widely along both the east and west sides of the Coast Mountains as well as in the Interior wet belt west of the Rocky Mountains. This species is under-utilized and presents a good opportunity for growing trees in British Columbia and . an excellent feedstock for pellets.
In addition, Skeena BioEnergy is one of a few companies that is capable of shipping wood pellets in containers in addition to using bulk ship holds. Containers may provide flexibility for some unloading ports that do not have the capability of unloading bulk carriers, or those that lack covered storage capacity.
Although Japan and South Korea are the two best-known and fastest growing Asian markets for industrial wood pellets, other Asian countries – notably Taiwan – rely heavily on coal-powered electricity. Rick’s presentation explores the opportunity to expand pellet exports beyond traditional markets.
Rick Harris is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Skeena Sawmills and Skeena BioEnergy. Rick has more than thirty years of forestry and bioenergy experience. Most recently he spent eighteen years at Interfor Corporation where he held leadership roles in North American Markets, Specialty Products, Value-Added Lumber Sector, Offshore Market Development and Supply Chain Optimization.
Rick’s professional and leadership promise is “To always lead with honesty and integrity while building value for the company, customer, and the community”.
Rick holds a B.Comm (Marketing & Economics) from Lincoln University, New Zealand.
Taiwan is one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, and with that growth in economic wealth comes an increased demand for energy –Taiwan currently ranks 15th in global electricity consumption per capita, with a 2% annual growth rate.
The Taiwanese Government recently introduced the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, with requirements to reduce carbon emissions by 50% in five-year increments by 2050. Achieving this goal will require a sizable shift to renewable energy – which currently represents only 7% of Taiwan’s energy production. With reliance on fossil fuels for more than 80% of its energy, Taiwan consumes more than 60 million tonnes of coal annually.
Wood pellets are increasingly used globally to reduce or replace coal in power production, as they offer a simple and efficient solution. Pellets are easily grindable, are dry and handle well, transport easily, are energy dense and can be used in coal plants with limited modifications.
There is a real opportunity for Taiwan to harness wood pellets to reduce its reliance on coal and significantly reduce its GHG emissions – early analysis indicates that wood pellet use could reduce emissions by between 80 and 90%. In terms of market demand for wood pellet producers, a 5% shift to co-firing coal with wood pellets would generate demand of between 3.5 and 4 million tonnes of pellets. With Canada’s transportation advantage to Asia, this represents a significant market opportunity for Canadian pellet producers, a win-win for the economy and global environment.
For a downloadable PDF of this summary, click here.