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A sell-out for Wood Residue Conference

Logging and Sawmilling Journal's Wood Residue Conference, held in October, was a smashing success, with capacity attendance and the Suppliers' Showcase sold out.

By Paul MacDonald

Despite challenging times in the forest industry, the 8th Biennial Wood Residue, Forest-to-Fuel Conference held in October proved to be a tremendous success, with a sold-out Suppliers Showcase and capacity attendance.

Speakers at the well-attended conference, held at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, talked about practical strategies, and said it was important to manage residual wood as a true industry resource.

This year's conference provided examples of successful wood energy projects, the nuts and bolts of why projects work, and solid business strategies.

"With this being the 8th Wood Residue Conference, we were able to build on the success of our past conferences," said Rob Stanhope, co-chair of the conference and publisher of Logging and Sawmilling Journal.

"We're very pleased that the conference was sold out both in terms of attendance and the Suppliers' Showcase, which highlighted the technology and products of more than 30 companies involved in the residual wood business."

Logging and Sawmilling Journal has been closely involved with the residual wood sector, though extensive coverage of residual wood projects and developments in the magazine. Early on, Logging and Sawmilling Journal recognized the importance of residual wood to the industry, and has put on the residual wood conference every two years since 1995.

The conference reviewed the full spectrum of residual wood opportunities, with a very strong line-up of speakers.

One of the overall goals for the conference was to highlight how the industry can achieve better utilization of the wood resource--to deliver revenue from residual wood.

Conference speakers said there are still significant business opportunities with the huge residual wood resource available in B.C. and Canada.

With energy prices edging up again, and increasing concerns about climate change, conference attendees heard that there is greater interest than ever in the use of residual wood and biomass as a fuel.

"The residual wood that is generated by forest industry operations across North America is steadily becoming a more valuable resource for pellet production and energy generation," said Brad Bennett, vice-president of operations for Pacific BioEnergy Corp, and the other co-chair of the conference.

"Utilizing wood more fully for fuel and energy generation is emerging as an important part of generating additional revenues for the forest industry, and supports the dynamic and growing wood-to-energy sector of the industry." Pacific BioEnergy Corporation manufactures, markets, and distributes wood pellet biomass energy. The company has a wood pellet manufacturing plant in Prince George, B.C.

B.C. Forests Minister Pat Bell spoke at the conference, and reinforced the provincial government's commitment to clean energy, and that use of biomass as a fuel is part of a clean energy solution. As part of its effort to reduce greenhouse gases and become a clean energy powerhouse, the province recently clarified its intention to end BC Hydro's reliance on the Burrard Thermal Generating Facility for energy needs. The plan is for BC Hydro to replace the firm energy supply from Burrard Thermal with clean, renewable and cost-effective energy.

This decision will also allow BC Hydro to continue to acquire 6,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of cost-effective, clean and renewable power. This includes up to 5,000 GWh from the utility's Clean Call and up to 1,000 GWh from Phase 2 of its Bioenergy Call for Power.

Several conference speakers noted the growth of wood pellet production, and what looks to be a very bright future for wood pellet demand. Global demand for wood pellets is expected to grow from 10.8 million tonnes to 22.3 million tonnes over the next five years, noted John Swaan, president of PFIT Consulting. The driving forces of that growth include concern about climate change in Europe and the move to clean energy in the U.S.

Michael Weedon, Executive Director of the B.C. Bioenergy Network, spoke about the role of the organization and its goal of maximizing the value of B.C.'s biomass resources, and developing and growing a world-class bioenergy industry in B.C. The B.C. Bioenergy Network was a gold sponsor of the Residual Wood Conference. Alterna Energy Inc was a silver sponsor, and Stolberg Engineering and Pacific Bioenergy were bronze sponsors. Other sponsors were BC Hydro, Bliss Industries and Lignol Energy Corporation.

For those who were unable to attend the conference, the proceedings of the Wood Residue, Forest-to-Fuel Conference are available on flash drive for $100 plus shipping from the Logging and Sawmilling Journal office, at 604 990-9970.

The next Residual Wood Conference is scheduled for October 2011.

Untitled Document

November 2009


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