The New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) recently introduced an enhanced winter weight (WW) program for the forest industry based on research and recommendations provided by FPInnovations’ Roads and Infrastructure research group.
New Brunswick’s winter weight program provides the forest industry with the opportunity for log hauling with increased weights on pre-defined roads during frozen conditions. The threshold previously used to start hauling at WW, however, was set at a conservative 1.0 m pavement frost depth.
In 2015–2016, FPInnovations’ Roads and Infrastructure group conducted an in-depth analysis of New Brunswick’s pavements to determine if a shallower starting frost depth could be used and, therefore, the WW hauling period extended. A set of typical pavements were analyzed using layered elastic modeling, pavement service life analysis, and risk management. The analysis revealed that both shallower starting frost depths and higher truck loadings could be used without compromising pavement integrity.
Based on FPInnovations’ recommendations, New Brunswick DTI has adopted a new WW starting threshold of 0.85 m frost depth instead of 1 m. This change is expected to provide up to two additional weeks of WW hauling, depending on the zone. The New Brunswick forest sector estimates that WW saves them approximately $1 million per season in haul costs. The new extended WW program is estimated to generate more than $300,000 in additional savings each year, while continuing to reduce summertime traffic levels and pavement wear and tear.
This initiative was spearheaded by FPInnovations researchers, in close collaboration with New Brunswick DTI and the forest sector.
Road construction in the forest industry is often necessary to access old growth and second growth forests where older roads are upgraded. The Construction Initiated Slides Working Group (CISWG) would like to raise awareness to workers, contractors, and licensees that construction initiated slides are not constrained to specific geographic areas or site conditions. In fact, construction initiated slides occur year round under all weather conditions and on steep to gentle slopes down to 30 per cent or less in many areas of B.C.
Between 2012 and 2015, there were 36 construction initiated slides recorded on the coast of British Columbia. The financial, environmental and most importantly, human cost can be significant not only to those physically injured, but also for anyone who has been on site during a slide.
Employers and tenure holders on the land base engage forest professionals, professional engineers and geoscientists as qualified professionals to provide advice on hazards, consequences and risks associated with road construction activities. These professionals will identify hazards and indicate work which may be undertaken by construction crews to reduce the risk to workers, the public and to protect the environment.
Qualified professionals have a duty to follow the established standard of care identified in all professional practice guidelines for the forest sector. The guidelines may be found at either https://www.apeg.bc.ca/For-Members/Professional-Practice/Professional-Practice-Guidelineor http://member.abcfp.ca/WEB/ABCFP/Practising_in_BC/Practising_
In December 2015, WorkSafeBC indicated the professional practice guidelines established by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (APEGBC) and the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) as being the accepted standard for landslide risk assessments (WorkSafe BC Guideline G26.18).
Those working in planning, designing and building road will want to familiarize themselves with WorkSafe OHS Regulations for Excavations (20.78-20.101), Planning and Conducting a Forestry Operation (26.2) and Creating Additional Hazards (26.80) at a minimum. These will guide the various assessments, prescriptions and direction needed for road construction activities to help eliminate the occurrence of landslides associated with road construction.
CISWG has developed a road construction initiated slide awareness presentation for workers involved in road planning, design and construction. The presentation and webinar may be found at the following link: http://www.bcforestsafe.org/node/2713.
The article above was written by the Construction Initiated Slides Working Group (CISWG), a group formed in late 2014 to address a trend in logging road construction initiated landslides on the coast. The group focuses on engagement of workers and resource professionals; education and awareness; new ways to identify sensitive zones and safely build roads; and options for monitoring and enforcing road-construction standards.
For more information, please contact Clayton Gillies, Senior Scientist of FPInnovations’ Roads and Infrastructure group, and FPInnovations’ representative for the CISWG [email protected] 604-222-5674.
Load securement devices commonly used as wrappers or tie-downs to secure log loads can be relatively heavy and make it difficult for some drivers to throw over a log load. Therefore, some drivers develop shoulder injuries from throwing wrappers, which, in some cases, can be career ending. For others, the inability to throw these securement devices over a load may act as a barrier to entering the industry. Some options can be used to eliminate the need for the driver to throw load wrappers or tie-downs, or to make them easier to throw.
FPInnovations (then the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada, or FERIC) had previously evaluated synthetic ropes and found that after a few months of use their breaking strength dropped significantly. From the observations made during this study, the apparent causes for this degradation appeared to be from abrasion, both external (from the logs) and internal (from dirt intrusion amongst the fibres). The concerns raised from this research prevented FPInnovations from recommending their use to members. However, increased focus on driver safety and retention, coupled with their increased use in some areas, led FPInnovations in 2014 to undertake another project evaluating these ropes for load securement.
New tie-downs and load wrappers were put into service, and periodically removed for break testing to determine how their strength changed with use. Ropes from three different suppliers were used and were taken to Cortland Ltd. in Anacortes, Washington for destructive break testing. The results from these break tests, as with the earlier FERIC study, showed that the strength of the UHMWPE ropes decreases fairly quickly with use. This is a significant finding that users of synthetic rope need to be aware of. Continuing to use wrappers or tie-downs made from synthetic rope without adequately accounting for their decrease in strength is not recommended.
Should users continue to use these ropes, following the manufacturers’ inspection guidelines will ensure that damaged or weakened ropes are removed from service. However, this alone will not ensure that the ropes retain adequate strength required to meet the requirements of the cargo securement standards. To help mitigate the loss in strength, it may be worth considering using a larger diameter rope, by up-sizing the rope by one to two sizes, as was suggested by the manufacturer upon seeing the results from this study. However, selection of the appropriate diameter rope for the load retention application requires careful consideration. Further work is required to determine how the strength of larger diameter rope used as log tie-downs or wrappers changes with use, and to determine if using larger diameter ropes is a viable option for log load securement. The manufacturer also suggested that minimizing dirt and sand contamination will slow the rate at which the rope loses its’ strength.
For more information on this study, please contact Rob Jokai, Principal Technologist of FPInnovations’ Transport and Energy group, at [email protected] or at 604-222-5694.
BY TONY KRYZANOWSKI
Alberta has made a substantial investment to support cutting-edge lignin production from pulp mills—and it has already started to pay dividends.
Hexion, a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals and a supplier of adhesive resin to the panel board industry, is on the cusp of commercializing a bio-based phenol formaldehyde (PF) resin that could eventually contain as much as 50 per cent lignin.
Some estimates show that more than two-thirds of all wood products have some adhesive resin in them. The most obvious examples are plywood, oriented strandboard, laminated veneer lumber and cross laminated timber. Hexion says the annual demand for resin among panel board manufacturers in Western Canada alone is about 130,000 tonnes per year.
“We’re quite confident that we are going to be able to commercialize technology with lignin in 2018,” says Carlos Nuila, Vice-President of Research and Development for Hexion’s Forest Products Division. “One of our issues is supply of lignin materials over the long term.”
Alberta Innovates (AI) has provided $3 million for the construction of the $30-million lignin recovery plant completed last year at the West Fraser pulp mill in Hinton. Alberta Innovates has contributed another $500,000 through its Alberta Bio Future (ABF) program toward Hexion’s project, focused on the development and commercialization of a bio-based PF resin and the development of a new panel board press design. The ABF program is designed to help diversify the Alberta economy by accelerating growth of the bioindustrial sector. It encourages the use of sustainable biomass, primarily from forestry and agriculture, in renewable bioproducts and technologies.
“What AI is getting from its investment is to validate the use of lignin as part of a bio-based replacement resin in engineered wood products and commercialization of a product substitute that has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” says Patrick Guidera, Forest Technologies Director at AI. “There is no doubt that this is disruptive science, and the potential market for this new product and press technology is staggering.”
Nuila says Alberta Innovates’ support has helped Hexion accelerate its research. It has also helped to have an Alberta partner in West Fraser, who is able to provide a highly purified and consistent cut of lignin, and who has a willingness to work closely with Hexion to help develop the required formulation, he adds.
Other panel board producers, such as Tolko, are very interested in Hexion’s research and are providing industry feedback. As a result of this promising research, there could be wider industry acceptance of resins that incorporate lignin.
Industry has been a major driver behind the development of a bio-based PF resin formulation, Nuila says, because of their interest in offering solutions incorporating locally sourced renewable raw materials. Lignin is replacing the fossil-fuel-based phenol component of traditional PF resins. So this substitution should result in reduced GHG emissions because less phenol will be required within the new PF formulation.
Lignin is one of the most abundant polymers on the planet. It gives trees their strength. One of its properties is its ability to work as an effective, benign adhesive substitute in the production of panel products. However, it is not an easy compound to work with. Nuila says it will take a combination of the right bio-based PF resin formulation and new panel board press technology for companies to consider using this alternative.
Hexion is working with a European press manufacturer and intends to purchase and install the new press design at a pilot plant located at its Edmonton research laboratory in the fall of 2017. It will mimic commercial panel board production at a typical Alberta production facility. The goal is to demonstrate to panel board producers locally and around the world how a new generation of press technology, working in concert with the bio-based PF resins, can deliver panel board with similar or better properties as panel board manufactured using traditional, fossil-fuel based PF resins.
Initially, Hexion is focusing on a bio-based PF resin replacement with a minimum of 20 per cent lignin substitution, specifically for OSB manufacturers, because Nuila says that is the greatest substitution challenge among panel products.
Hexion is also working to develop a technology where certain existing panel board presses could be modified so that companies could use the bio-based PF resin on their production line without having to purchase an entirely new press. If successful, there could be production line trials in early 2018.
Hexion R & D chemist Dr. Shuna Cheng is one of the team members working at the company’s Edmonton laboratory developing bio-based PF resins that could contain up to 50 per cent lignin.
For more information about the Hexion research project, contact John Kompa, Hexion Vice-President, Public Affairs, at [email protected], and for more information about AI’s support for this project, contact Julia Necheff, AI Communications Specialist, at [email protected].
BY TONY KRYZANOWSKI
Alberta’s Capital Power Corporation is currently in the development and design phase of a biomass co-firing system at its coal-fired Genesee power plant.
The company is now focused on pursuing fibre supply agreements with Alberta forest companies to use their mill-generated residual fibre, consisting primarily of bark, as power plant biofuel. If all the pieces fall into place, it could begin permanent, co-fired power production by 2018.
This wood-based biofuel resource represents about 15 per cent of the fuel needs for one of the three power units operated by Capital Power about 70 kilometres west of Edmonton, or about 60 megawatts of biomass power production. This rate of renewable power generation from co-firing would result in an annual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of approximately 400,000 tonnes per year.
Genesee is a three unit, coal-fired power plant with a generation capacity of about 1400 megawatts. Test burns of co-fired woody biomass with coal last fall showed no technical obstacle to incorporating significant amounts of woody biomass fuel.
“Capital Power’s plans for substituting wood fibre for coal at their power plants is good news for Alberta farmers and woodlot landowners and it could just be the beginning, considering that all coal-fired power plants may be looking for an alternative fuel,” says Toso Bozic, Bioenergy and Forestry Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
He adds that there are thousands and thousands of hectares of mature or over-mature natural forest with significant amounts of biomass that landowners currently have little or no market for. This may pose a fire risk to the landowners. The second option may be for landowners to grow short rotation trees, like willow and poplar, as biofuel.
Sandy Fleming, Business Development Director at Capital Power, says that down the road, the company may consider supplementing its mill-based biofuel resource with both wood fibre provided by private landowners as well as possibly growing their own short rotation wood fibre crops on their own lands. However, at present, this option would likely not be economically viable, so the current focus will be on forest mill residual fibres produced by large, Alberta mills.
He adds that Capital Power is not adverse to considering as much wood fibre biofuel replacement for coal as possible, but noted that it would require almost five million dry tonnes of wood fibre annually to replace Genesee’s current coal consumption. For now, the company is focused on finding sources to meet the 200,000 dry tonnes annually that it would take to supply their initial 60 megawatts co-firing project.
What’s driving Capital Power’s switch to co-firing woody biomass is two-fold. One is the province’s introduction of a carbon levy and plan to phase out emissions from coal-powered energy production by 2030. The second is the planned phase out of beehive burners to dispose of sawmill wood residuals. Forest companies have the fuel and Capital Power has the need, so it is a good partnership.
Another potential woody biomass fuel resource available to Capital Power is the slash piles in the bush that most Alberta forestry companies currently burn. However, their repurposing will ultimately come down to economics. At present, Fleming says mill wastes are relatively close to the plant in a clean, concentrated form which, with a small amount of processing, it is ready to use as biofuel.
Capital Power has found no technical issues to prevent mixing processed wood waste
with coal to generate power at its Genesee Power plant.
For more information about Capital Power’s co-firing program, contact Sandy Fleming at [email protected]. For woodlot owners interested in harvesting or growing trees as a cash crop, contact Toso Bozic at [email protected].
BY TONY KRYZANOWSKI
There is ample evidence that the Canadian forest industry will face greater challenges to its wood supply from pests, pathogens, and wildfire due to climate change.
The Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) is taking a lead role in the area of technology development and knowledge transfer to help the industry adapt their forest management practices to mitigate the potential impact of these threats.
The goal is to present industry with demonstration sites showing the implications of taking no action, along with sites showing forest management and harvesting strategies tested by CFS/CWFC through its decades of practices development and study of long-term research sites that industry can apply to help support a sustainable fibre supply in the climate change era.
CWFC Regional Coordinator and Program Manager Derek Sidders says that the areas they will be addressing are: plantation establishment strategies that are more resilient to climate change; partial harvest systems that address midterm timber supply issues showing up all across Canada as it relates to the availability of sawlogs and certain dimensions of tree species; and tracking climate change and current management practices that are having an impact on maintaining healthy forests.
“We’re looking to adapt some of our experience and activities related to our previous work in such areas as ecosystem management emulating natural disturbance where we created a variable retention harvesting design that would mimic wildfire by looking at individual tree and patch retention scenarios and deploying that in mixedwood scenarios at all stages in Alberta,” says Sidders.
He adds that this is one of the largest ongoing research studies ever established.
“It is giving us very clear answers as it relates to maintaining biodiversity and the impact of various removal levels on carbon budgets, as well as looking at regeneration implications associated with partial harvest retention levels involving various species,” says Sidders.
The recent and ongoing devastation perpetrated by the mountain pine beetle is one example where it is obviously necessary for industry to develop ways to mitigate that impact by using strategies that result in stands that are vigorous, healthy and hopefully more resilient.
Sidders says that CWFC has taken a serious look at rehabilitation in stands consisting of both immature and mature lodgepole pine experiencing 50 per cent mortality due to a beetle infestation.
“We have developed a partial harvest system that aims to remove values from that stand, including removal of biomass which can contribute to growth in the bioeconomy, as well as the fibre for conventional forest products, working in concert with large forest companies in northern Alberta,” he says.
The system not only captures value from these infested stands, but uses harvesting and novel regeneration systems to bring the stand back to a vigorous and healthy state, while spacing high density, non-infected lodgepole pine to reduce their susceptibility to attack, with the goal of enhancing their size and their vigor.
In other scenarios —where there were mixedwood components within beetle infected stands—CWFC demonstrated how to maintain the mixedwood characteristics of the stand, while implementing a partial stand species conversion by introducing white spruce with lodgepole pine on micro-sites to create a healthy growing environment, leading to a future, productive, commercial forest.
“We are also working in the Petawawa Research Forest in Ontario, where we are deploying a variety of different practices that are looking at second generation, pure softwood and mixed stands that have been impacted by extreme weather events,” says Sidders. “They have experienced mortality from drought, wind throw, and storms.”
In this case, CWFC is using its partial harvest systems and creating more stand diversity by re-establishing tolerant softwoods in the understorey and introducing native hardwoods or fast growing hardwood nurse crops to provide cover and nutrients to the valuable softwood species, such as white pine.
Eventually, CWFC hopes to establish a network of sites as a type of legacy, covering a wide variety of species combinations created through the use of novel harvest and management systems aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change, that demonstrate both removal of present values, potential site enhancement and adaptation strategies going forward, and applications that validate what can be done to address the future timber supply challenge that industry currently faces.
“We’d like to start deploying those strategies in some of our research forests and building partnerships across Canada to deploy them into the primary forest types in all locations,” says Sidders.
For more information about research sites related to this program and methods deployed on demonstration sites both in the past and under the current program, contact Derek Sidders at [email protected].
Partial harvest then re-establishing native hardwoods with tolerant softwoods is one strategy CWFC is proposing to make one Ontario site affected by climate change more resilient.
On the Cover:
When Munden Ventures Ltd. of Kamloops, B.C. moved into logging, they made some well-thought out equipment purchases, and established solid supplier relationships with the B.C. John Deere dealer, Brandt Tractor, and Woodland Equipment, the Hyundai dealership. Munden Ventures sub-contacts out its processing (pictured on the cover) to Randy Janzen who is a Hyundai/Waratah guy (Cover photo courtesy of Randy Janzen).
Spotlight – More taxes for the forest industry?
Alberta has recently rolled out a carbon tax, and the federal government has proposed a national minimum price on carbon. How will these additional costs impact the Alberta and Canadian forest industries, considering all parts of the industry, from logging right through to the sawmill, are significant energy users?
Solid business move into logging
Munden Ventures of Kamloops, B.C. got involved in logging more by accident than by design, but it’s turned out to be a solid business decision.
Flying high in steep slopes with the Falcon
B.C.’s Hyde Creek Logging has found the Falcon Winch Assist system from New Zealand-based DC Equipment to be a great fit with the logging it does on steep slopes on northern Vancouver Island.
B.C. Saw Filer’s Preview:
The upcoming B.C. Saw Filer’s Association AGM and trade show remains a solid venue to share knowledge and resources for all those involved in the trade.
West Fraser takes over top lumber producers spot from Canfor
WOOD MARKETS’ annual survey of top Canadian lumber producers highlights the ongoing healthy market conditions coupled with mill expansions—and a change in the country’s top lumber producer, with West Fraser coming out on top, beating out Canfor.
From hobby sawmill to workhorse
The Kanigan Family in B.C. may have started Gold Island Forest Products as a hobby sawmill, but these days the mill has been ramped up considerably—with numerous upgrades—and now specializes in producing high quality custom cut cedar/fir lumber and timber products.
Canada North Resources Expo show coming up in May!
If you’re looking for equipment, machinery, products or technology in the forest and resource sector, the Canada North Resources Expo show—being held May 26-27 at the CN Centre in Prince George, B.C.—is the place to be, and Logging and Sawmilling Journal will there front and centre, as the Official Show Guide.
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates, FPInnovations and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
The Last Word
Canada should focus on EU markets with the new Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) deal, while we wait for Trump’s take on softwood lumber, says Tony Kryzanowski.
Mulchers and mulching heads