Smithers, British Columbia, is supporting the province’s climate change targets by diverting residual fibre that would otherwise be burned to Pinnacle Renewable Energy's new plant.
Fibre from the Bulkey Timber Supply Area is now being transported to Pinnacle’s newly-developed Smithers Pellet Facility.
A total of $1.2 million (€773,800) in funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) helped to bridge haul costs, meaning the residual fibre is now being delivered to the plant as raw material to create a marketable product, instead of being piled and burned in a cut block in the forest.
According to FESBC, as a result, air quality is better protected because incineration of biomass is cleaner than open burning of wood piles. Pinnacle’s customers are also able to reduce their fossil fuel consumption, while boosting employment.
Josh McQuillin, superintendent of biomass at Pinnacle, said: “In recent years in the Bulkey Valley, there has been no feasible end destination for any pulp logs or bio-logs, forcing licensees to burn high amounts of fibre that could have been used to produce energy.
“Through this funding, we were able to utilise nearly 90,000 cubic metres of fibre that would otherwise have been piled and burned.”
“Harvest residuals can add challenges where the logistics costs of transporting fibre from cut blocks to our plant are difficult, or where storage space is limited, as is the case with Smithers,” said Jason Fisher, vice-president of fibre at Pinnacle.
“We know that by turning harvest residuals into pellets we are putting the carbon in that fibre to good use.
“Our customers buy our pellets to reduce their carbon emissions. FESBC funding allowed us to achieve that goal through enhanced fibre utilisation.
“FESBC’s support turns into local benefits and helps us turn BC harvest residuals into a global carbon solution.”