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March 2004

INDUSTRY SHOWS

Forest Expo builds on adding value

A bio-energy conference and other attractions will bring some new and exciting value-added features to the Forest Expo show, being held June 3 to 5 in Prince George, BC.

By Jim Stirling

A European-led wake-up call will be sounded at this June’s Forest Expo in Prince George, British Columbia. A bio-energy conference and exhibition is to be held in conjunction with Forest Expo. An impressive list of international speakers, with strong European representation, has been attracted to pass on knowledge and experience for unleashing the full potential of wood biomass for energy sources. The conference will be held at the University of Northern British Columbia’s Prince George campus June 2 and 3. It overlaps with Forest Expo, which will be home as usual at Exhibition Park.

The big names in timber harvesting equipment will be represented at Forest Expo 2004, offering up the latest in new equipment and technology.

But this year the dates will be slightly different. The show is being held June 3 to 5. For several reasons, other countries have been faster off the mark than Canada in embracing the possibilities of wood biomass utilization and developing the culture to sustain it. The bio-energy conference is based on four themes: awareness of bio-energy materials, their manufacture and use; local, regional and national government assessment of policies, technologies and carbon credits; new environmental technologies, sources and land use benefits; and promotion and awareness of bio-energy materials in home heating.

Viktor Jensen, representing the Danish District Heating Association, will outline the development of the Danish pellet market from a small local beginning to becoming an international trading commodity. Kasmir Nemestothy will talk about the enhanced utilization of biomass in the heating market from the perspective of the Austrian Energy Agency. Joachim Fischer from the Biomass Information Centre in Stuttgart, Germany will discuss the legal framework created to steer the German biomass sector to success. Emmanuel Cuchet will describe the use of a logging residue bundler in French temperate forests.

Operators and contractors will have the opportunity to take a look at a wide selection of harvesting equipment at Forest Expo, and get further information from dealer representatives.

Ian Nichols, from the Forest Research Institute in Rotorua, New Zealand, will examine the evolution of the biomass resource in that country, along with the other benefits from short rotation crops. Among the home-grown experts will be David Causton. The president of Micromill Systems Inc, in Summerland, BC, will look at small log processing and the conversion of biomass to ethanol. The bio-energy conference will be augmented by plant tours. Those confirmed include visits to the Regional District of Fraser Fort George’s Foothills Boulevard landfill site, where gases from garbage are converted to energy; Pellet Flame Inc, a wood pellet manufacturer and distributor; Canfor’s new planned pulp mill cogeneration project and Rustad’s sawmill, planer and dry kiln complex.

The bio-energy conference slots neatly into Forest Expo’s Value-Added Marketplace - Exploring Wood’s Potential exhibit. Significant interest has been shown in the exhibit’s wood product competition. The juried event—open to artisans, students or commercial suppliers in the region—will be a showcase for the imagination and versatility of wood. Students will also have their own “make wood great” competition: They are challenged to create a wood product from one SPF 2x4, eight feet long. One of Forest Expo’s inherent advantages is that it’s a proven commodity.

The show has earned a solid reputation since its inception in 1985. The billing as Canada’s top forest industry show speaks volumes to exhibitors. It’s the place where business can get done despite how tough times might be. And it’s the place where people who might not know much about the forest industry can go and learn in a non-threatening and entertaining environment. Little surprise, therefore, to hear general manager Trudy Swaan report Forest Expo ‘04 was half sold out by early February with about 200 exhibitors signed up. The big names in forest harvesting equipment and services will be on hand with their latest offerings. They know they can’t afford not to be.

And, as always, there will be some newcomers to the biennial showcase. An example is Marcels Equipment Ltd, with the latest Volvo machinery, including wheel loaders. The portable sawmill section will be humming for the three days in June. Loggers’ sports—a perennial favourite—will return and a slate of seminars is being organized to help hone the bottom line in an increasingly complex working environment. The social events will be highlighted by the Chairman’s Ball at which the Prince George Hospice Society will once again be the major recipient of Forest Expo 2004’s charity auction. For registration and further information on Forest Expo and the bio-energy conference, telephone (250) 563-8833 or check the website at www.forestexpo.bc.ca.

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