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The changes to climatic conditions in Canada are anticipated to have a significant impact on the Canadian forest industry. Resource roads are considered particularly vulnerable to the immediate and short-term impacts of climate change. Adaptation strategies for resource roads and infrastructure must be developed and implementation initiated to ensure that the road infrastructure required for forest access is maintained and made resilient to climatic impacts.
Given the significance that resource roads have to economic and social well-being, efforts are required to understand the implications of climate change in order to adapt roads and infrastructure to its impacts. Until recently, discussions have been focused on the understanding of the challenges and efforts to mitigate climate change through reductions in the production of greenhouse gases, a primary contributor to climate change. The adaptation of resource roads to climate change is a relatively new concept and there currently exists very little information that identifies adaptation practices, assesses performance and recommends implementation practices that allow for mainstreaming of adaptation for resource roads.
This report presents the risks and vulnerabilities of resource roads to climate change and suggested adaptation methods and practices.
The report is available free of charge; please visit FPInnovations’ blog at blog.fpinnovations.ca to access the document. More information can be obtained by contacting Mark Partington, Senior Researcher, Roads and Infrastructure at email@example.com.
Since the cost of fuel is an important consideration in using off-road equipment, it is to the advantage of all machine owners to get the best out of this inevitable expense. Some work habits and operational factors have an impact on fuel consumption. Recent tests conducted by FPInnovations’ researchers have made it possible to explore certain potential improvements in energy intensity (litres of fuel burned to produce one cubic metre of wood) and measure the savings.
The feller-buncher is a complex machine, due to its many hydraulic systems. Maintenance, which may seem optional when the machine is always in operation, may be difficult to contemplate. However, hydraulic tune-up tests have helped increase productivity and reduce energy intensity from 0.54 L/m3 to 0.43 L/m3, which corresponds to an improvement of approximately 20 per cent. The return on investment in carrying out maintenance has been evaluated at less than 200 hours (Info Note 2017, no. 16).
Sharpening saw teeth can reduce fuel consumption and boost productivity by increasing energy intensity by 13 per cent. A daily inspection of the saw teeth is therefore recommended to check whether they are still very sharp and safe (Info Note 2017, no. 10).
A change in engine operating speed may have a negative impact on fuel consumption. A 100 rpm engine speed drop test reduced productivity and increased fuel consumption and energy intensity by 6.5 per cent. This practice is therefore not recommended on this type of machine; however, other machines may react differently (Info Note 2017, no. 17).
Excavators and machines mounted on a similar chassis are often equipped with an economy mode on the throttle lever. Tests have shown that this mode, when used in the right conditions, can reduce fuel consumption by 20 per cent, while having a negligible effect on productivity (Info Note 2017, no. 11).
It is preferable to change the chain on the head of a danglehead processor as soon as it shows signs of losing its sharpness. A used chain reduces productivity and increases operating costs. It has been shown that using a well-sharpened new chain may reduce energy intensity by 15 per cent (Info Note 2017, no. 12).
Tests performed with a swing machine with three different power level settings (economy, power, and high performance) and equipped with a danglehead processor showed a linear increase in both productivity and energy intensity. The high performance setting had 15 per cent more production than the economy mode but consumed more fuel, with a 12 per cent increase in energy intensity. Power mode struck a balance between productivity and economy (Info Note 2018, no. 2).
The position of a skidder’s grapple can have a large impact on the resistance force of the trunks on the ground and therefore on fuel consumption as well. Pulling the trunks from a high position reduces their resistance, resulting in lower fuel consumption. A difference of 25 per cent in consumption was noted between the high and low position on a favourable slope. Tests on a 5 per cent gradient showed that the grapple position had less impact on consumption (a difference of 3 per cent between the high and low position). Skidding on an unfavourable slope can increase fuel consumption and unit operating costs (Info Note 2017, no. 7).
For more information, contact Cameron Rittich, Senior Scientist in FPInnovations’ Transport & Energy group.
FPInnovations members can also find more information by consulting the various Info Note reports indicated in this text.
Following FPInnovations and Laval University’s industrial NSERC Chair recommendations, Alberta Transportation recently changed its winter weight premium (WWP) policy allowing an estimated average of 8 days of WWP extension.
In Alberta, one of five Canadian provinces to allow premium weights for log hauling during the winter, the onset of the winter weight premium season traditionally started when local frost depths reached 1.0 m. Thanks to a recent policy change, it will now start at a frost depth of 0.75 m and end at a thaw depth of 25 cm.
Alberta’s starting frost depth threshold will now be consistent with thresholds used in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Although eight days’ extension is predicted based on recent winter freezing patterns, even greater extension will occur in warmer winters when freezing rates slow and the time between 0.75 m and 1.0 m frost depth grows longer.
The policy change will generate more than $2 million in haul savings for the forest sector annually. Other benefits include an estimated reduction in pavement maintenance costs of $1.4 million annually and the operation of fewer trucks on the road for the same total volume (safer, reduced greenhouse gases). The WWP program is also available to heavy haulers and the extended WWP period is expected to benefit their business through greater flexibility as to when and how they transport heavy loads. The shallower frost depth requirement will also allow operations in the southern part of the province, where frost depths don’t consistently reach 1 m, to now benefit from WWPs.
This win-win policy change is a result of several years of research and, more importantly, collaboration between FPInnovations, Alberta Transportation, and academia. “The key ingredients here were the identification of a true industry need and collaboration between all parties towards a science-based outcome with tangible benefits to our members and the forest sector,” notes FPInnovations’ Executive Vice-President Trevor Stuthridge.
FPInnovations initially conducted layered elastic modelling of frozen Alberta-style pavements and winter truck loadings to document the minimum frost depth that could be used to start WWPs without negatively impacting pavements. Preliminary results indicated that shallower frost depths provided enough support to heavy loads but further investigation was needed to validate these findings.
FPInnovations teamed up with Laval University’s industrial NSERC Chair on the interaction between Climate, Pavements and Loads (i3C Chair), led by Professor Guy Doré. In their state-of-the-art, full-scale loading simulator, Doré’s team built a replicate of a typical Alberta pavement and applied a series of wheel loads. The fully instrumented pavement was entirely frozen and pavement responses were collected at different frost depths. The results corroborated and reinforced the preliminary findings from the advanced modelling conducted by FPInnovations. Similar results were obtained with a thicker Québec-style pavement also recently tested by Laval University. A wide range of weaker Alberta pavement structures were modelled and the analysis confirmed that there would be no reduction in service life resulting from the reduction in starting frost depth.
For more information, please contact Glen Légère (firstname.lastname@example.org), Research Manager, Transportation and Infrastructure at FPInnovations.
BY TONY KRYZANOWSKI
The Technology Development and Transfer Team at the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) has been highly successful during its first year at building better communication bridges between focused researchers at the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) and forest practitioners.
Now, the Team will be fine tuning the methods of communication and program delivery it tested over the past year in its continuing effort to bring forest research to life.
This will include taking full advantage of what digital media can offer to not only facilitate knowledge transfer from researchers to forest practitioners in a timely manner, but also to communicate feedback to researchers from practitioners to help them refine their research focus so that their work provides shorter term, practical value.
Through the national long term research study network of the CFS, a considerable amount of the testing and validation of forest management concepts and technology has already been done. In some cases, it is just waiting for presentation and application in the working forest, with a bit of updating and focused application to address specific current needs. Helping to facilitate that transfer is the pivotal role that the Technology Development and Transfer Team is playing.
Derek Sidders, Program Manager, Technology Development and Transfer, says the Team works under the umbrella of the major deliverables guiding CWFC. These are: wood characterization for optimizing end uses; next generation enhanced forest inventory; stand establishment practices for a resilient forest, which includes plantation establishment and partial harvest systems for mitigating mid-term timber supply; and a sustainable wood supply for an evolving bioeconomy by adding value to what was previously considered non-commercial or residual wood fibre.
The Technology Development and Transfer Team has adopted five technology and knowledge transfer approaches.
One is the development and testing of techniques and technologies to apply research knowledge informed through historic research field studies related to the development of site preparation, vegetation management techniques and partial harvest systems, and then updating them to address today’s forest management challenges. One example is applying understorey site preparation and planting in understorey/shelterwood scenarios in an attempt to promote mixedwood forests to mitigate the impact of a changing climate.
“We are also looking at a variety of new tools and techniques to assist us with inventory and reforestation precision,” says Sidders. “We are looking at on-the-ground validation through sampling our data and looking at growth response of a lot of our treatments. This will assist us in not only validating new inventory techniques, but also in monitoring and tracking a lot of our long term research study sites.”
He adds that in another case, the Team is testing a drone precision seeding application for sites where appropriate micro-sites exist and growing conditions are suitable.
A second approach is the development of field guides for best practices that incorporate research results and progress. Partial harvest, short-rotation wood crop and site reclamation/revegetation systems are among the subjects addressed.
A third approach is the demonstration of applications and practices that ‘operationalize’ research and validate forecasts. One example is taking silvicultural systems and deploying them in different areas and applications that have not been addressed previously or in new applications such as in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
A fourth approach that has already been a longstanding CWFC and CFS technology transfer practice is the development of field tours.
Finally, the Team is developing a higher profile for the research being done by CFS, transferring knowledge through publications, presentations, and the use of digital media, particularly to provide better visual information of research sites and results for forest practitioners.
The Team’s technology development and transfer priorities for this year are to validate the considerable research work related to establishing short rotation woody crops, as well as their harvesting and transportation applications, because of their potential to support the evolving bioeconomy and partial harvest systems to address mid-term fibre supply issues. They also plan to make greater use of historic research at the 100-year-old Petawawa Research Forest, which is the Forest Capital of Canada 2017-2019, and at the Acadia Research Forest in New Brunswick. This will include practical demonstrations, once again aimed at addressing today’s forest management challenges and incorporating expanded wood fibre use and production.
For more information and/or to investigate potential collaborations with the Technology Development and Transfer Team, contact Derek Sidders at Derek.email@example.com.
BY TONY KRYZANOWSKI
Excitement is building for the inaugural INVENTURE$ event being hosted this spring by Alberta Innovates, with the announcement of a high-profile keynote speaker.
Guy Kawasaki, a recognized pioneer in evangelism marketing and a driving force behind the success of Apple’s Macintosh computer, has been confirmed as a speaker. He is chief evangelist at Canva (an online graphic design tool), a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz, and an executive fellow of the HAAS School of Business at UC Berkeley.
The overall aim of INVENTURE$ is to provide a forum where attendees can make new connections with local, national and international innovators, investors, researchers and industry representatives. It will take place June 6-8 at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary.
Alberta Innovates CEO Laura Kilcrease says INVENTURE$ is the “must attend” conference of the year for those wanting to connect with individuals, industry representatives and venture capitalists well outside of their usual networking boundaries. There will be many opportunities for face-to-face meetings in both traditional and novel settings.
The name “INVENTURE$” is derived from the words innovation, ventures and capital—three themes currently driving economic development in Alberta. The province wants to encourage investment and commercialization of new technologies and businesses that will contribute to greater economic diversification.
“We want to connect the big ideas with the businesses and backers they need to get off the ground,” says Kilcrease. The goal is to achieve real results and near-term commercialization.
“This conference will also put a global stamp on what we have available here in Alberta,” she adds.
Thematically, the conference will focus on several areas. These are: emerging technologies; health and life sciences; food and fibre, with a focus on forestry, agriculture and biotech; and clean energy, with emphasis on emissions reduction, carbon capture, water, oil and gas, and electrical power production.
INVENTURE$ will also feature expert speakers, knowledge transfer and network building opportunities in the fields of biomaterials for construction and green building; nanotechnology; sensor technologies; autonomous vehicles; artificial intelligence; Omics like genomics; the Internet of Things; and what’s new in gaming, software and information communications technology.
As it relates to the forest industry, INVENTURE$ aims to provide a platform to help Alberta’s forest sector make connections that will enable local companies to diversify beyond traditional lumber, pulp and paper, and panelboard products and markets.
Industry has already shown interest and made investments in advanced biomaterials derived from wood. Other business opportunities are emerging. These include development and use of wood-based structural building materials such as mass timber, new bioproducts from lignin, and use of wood feedstocks for bioenergy and bio-based alternatives to plastics and fibreglass.
INVENTURE$ attendees will find plenty of value in their quest to find potential new joint venture partners, potential new applications for wood-based bioproducts, and systems and technology developers who can improve efficiency and help industry gain a greater competitive edge within their current operations.
The main program features more than 80 keynote and sessional presentations, with 150 speakers and industry leaders in big data, lean start-up and global research. In addition, INVENTURE$ Connect is a value-added aspect to this event, taking place outside of regular programming. It provides an outstanding opportunity for face-to-face networking beyond the usual conference structure at such events. A food showcase and tasting event hosted by Genome Alberta, a meet-up and reception hosted by Mikata Health, and an Experimental Art Installation hosted by the Alberta Podcast Network are among the INVENTURE$ Connect events that have already been booked.
Kilcrease describes Connect events as having a “single-stream” theme and expertise. They will focus on specific topics relating to a specific industry sector such as forestry, agriculture or health, or be hosted by groups from a specific business sector to share information about the latest trends within their areas of interest.
“And the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association is holding their annual conference here at the same time,” says Kilcrease. “So they will have their one-day programming for their own members around investing and the latest trends, but then some of their members will stay over for INVENTURE$ and perhaps listen to some of our pitch tracks.”
INVENTURE$ will offer four pitch tracks in front of three potential capital sources. Five to eight selected businesses looking to raise the profile of their products or technology and attract investment will make presentations to these investors.