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FESBC-funded fibre utilisation, renewable energy project successful

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A recent forest enhancement project utilising wood waste in north-eastern British Columbia (BC) for renewable energy generation has been hailed as a success.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) provided $299,759 (€202,500) in funding to a partnership project led by Duz Cho Logging of the McLeod Lake Indian Band and Canfor Energy North. Although the project is now coming to an end, the social, economic and environmental benefits ‘will endure’ for the community of Chetwynd, said FESBC.

The project saw the utilisation of low-grade residual wood fibre leftover from harvesting operations in the Chetwynd area. Although the current economics for the recovery of this fibre is limiting, funding from FEBSC extended the economic reach for this waste by enabling recovery and utilisation of the low-grade fibre from areas a greater distance from the facility using the fibre.

Typically, without funding like this from FESBC, leftover wood fibre is piled and burned, but in this case the fibre was sent to the Canfor Energy North Pellet plant in Chetwynd, where it was chipped and used for pellet and energy production.

“We were very pleased with the opportunity to help take the lead on this project,” said Chris Hayward, logging manager at Duz Cho Logging.

“One of our core principles at Duz Cho is we ensure the footprints we leave behind are the ones our children will be proud to walk in, and this project was definitely in alignment.

“The environmental benefits were significant because the avoiding pile burning, the result is fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The economic benefits were also significant in that we were able to provide employment for McLeod Lake Indian Band members. Not only are these good-paying jobs to benefit our members and their families, but people have had the opportunity to learn new skills while doing this hands-on work, which is important.”

In total, the project utilised 14,742 m3 of residual waste fibre, equivalent to 295 truckloads. Duz Cho Logging and Canfor Energy North employees contributed to the Chetwynd economy through fuel, accommodation, and food purchases, as well as hiring local tradespeople to provide maintenance on equipment.

As part of the StrongerBC funding allocation, FESBC provided funding to 14 fibre utilisation projects, including the Duz Cho/Canfor Energy project, in many parts of the province.