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December 2003 January 2004


Residual Wood Conference continues to evolve

The residual wood sector of the forest industry continues to develop and grow, with the recent Residual Wood Conference reflecting these changes and developments.

By Paul MacDonald

The Residue-To-Revenue Residual Wood Conference celebrated its fifth show in November, delivering a solid package of information and viewpoints about the newest developments in residual wood in the North American forest industry. The conference is held every two years in Vancouver, British Columbia. The first conference/show was held in 1995, and its content continues to evolve to reflect the changes in the forest industry. Informal feedback from those attending the conference, and the forms filled out by attendees, illustrated that the conference continues to fill a much-needed information niche in the forest industry. “With our co-chairs, Mel Spitler and Stuart McCormick, and people in the industry, we worked to develop the most relevant line-up of speakers for the show,” said conference co-ordinator Jan Raulin. “There are ongoing developments around residual wood, and the content and topics covered at the conference reflect these changes.”

Evidence of the new developments came just days before the start of the conference, when BC-based forest company Canfor announced that they would be building a major electrical co-generation facility in Prince George. This project, which will utilize residual wood, is being jointly undertaken with BC Hydro, as part of the “Power Smart” program. The project will allow Canfor to decommission its beehive burners at sawmills in nearby Bear Lake and Isle Pierre. “We’re working with a variety of forest industry customers to look at residual wood initiatives similar to the Canfor project,” said John Hougan, account manager in wood products manufacturing at BC Hydro. BC Hydro was one of the major sponsors of the conference.

Hougan said that the Residual Wood Conference was very useful in that it connected people in the industry who are looking for further residual wood information, with the suppliers who offer the latest technology and services. “The conference was great from that perspective. It was a good networking event. And they did an excellent job of presenting the different aspects of uses for residual wood.” Residual wood could also have a role to play in reducing greenhouse gases. This topic was addressed by consultant Brian McCloy, who spoke on Climate Change and Carbon Credits, and the opportunities available for the forest industry in this area.

Riad Younes, market development officer for Natural Resources Canada, also a sponsor of the conference, said the federal government is working to inform industries of business opportunities with biomass. “Using residual wood plays into this because it means using less fossil fuels and it contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gases,” he says. Ian Corrigall, manager of Valon Kone Brunette Ltd, Title Sponsor of the conference, said there is growing interest in the use of residual wood, and agreed the conference acts as a good forum to exchange information.

Corrigall pointed out an Alberta project, the Grande Prairie EcoPower Centre, as an example that the industry is moving ahead, along with energy partners, with projects. The plant will use wood waste from Canfor to generate both electricity and steam for use in the adjacent Canfor Grande Prairie sawmill and may also provide electricity to the company’s nearby Hines Creek sawmill. The project is being built by Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc, which also had a speaker at the conference. Corrigall added that there are signs of increasing interest in using residual wood from other forest companies. “We’re seeing a lot of activity. I think things are going to be happening.”

Conferences help the exchange of information and move the process along, he added. With luncheons and dinners, there was ample time for mixing and networking at the conference. Conference attendees even got a first-hand look at how residual wood can be used at those backyard barbecues. One of the conference speakers, John Swaan of BC-based Pellet Flame Inc, a manufacturer of wood pellets, treated conference attendees to delicious ribs cooked on a barbecue unit configured to use wood pellets as fuel. The next Residual Wood Conference is scheduled for November 2005. Advance information about the conference will be available in Logging and Sawmilling Journal beginning in mid-2004.

Proceedings of this year's conference are now available, with more than 100 pages of the latest information on residual wood.  Quantities are limited.  Contact Logging and Sawmilling Journal at (604) 990-9970 or by e-mail at stanhope@forestnet.com for information or to purchase.

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This page last modified on Tuesday, September 28, 2004