Three Kamloops companies are contributing to the green economy by saving more wood waste from slash piles through government contracts in partnership with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).
This spring, Domtar is slated to begin a project utilizing low-value logs, branches and bark at logging sites normally too far away to acquire economically. Domtar will have them chipped on site and hauled to the Kamloops pulp mill.
Domtar fibre manager Steve Lavigne said the project will generate electricity used to power its Mission Flats Road facility, with any excess juice being sold back to BC Hydro.
“We’re very pleased to be able to get access to the funding,” Lavigne said.
He said the majority of the $1.25 million from the FESBC will cover the gap in hauling costs that would ordinarily make the wood waste too expensive to acquire. The contract runs until March 2021. Lavigne expects to have a grinder in the bush generating biofuel by the end of March of this year.
The Domtar project, along with two others, were highlighted on Thursday during a media event hosted by the FESBC.
Society executive director Steve Kozuki said recent mill closures in B.C. have led to a reduction of wood chips, leaving producers like Domtar struggling to find the fibre they previously obtained from sawmills.
“The transition that we as a province are trying to facilitate right now is replacing that fibre that used to be supplied by sawmills with fibre from the forest instead — and that’s what these projects are all about,” Kozuki said.
Arrow Incremental Haul received funding for three projects involving FESC paying truckers to drive farther for low-grade fibre that would otherwise be burned in slash piles. Hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of Hemlock and other pulp logs from the North Thompson, Adams Lake and Lillooet Timber Supply area will be hauled to Arrow’s wood chipper in Kamloops.
About 325,000 cubic metres of treetops that would normally be discarded and burned in the Princeton area is being saved from the slash pile, thanks to a $1.4-million FESBC project with Kamloops-based company Westwood Fibre Resources, which will convert the wood waste to pulping chips. FESBC is funding the extra hauling costs over and above the break-even point to facilitate the initiative.
FESBC operations manger David Conly said the funding helps cover the difference between what the market can pay and the cost to deliver the fibre when the source of wood is far from a facility.
The FESBC works in conjunction with the provincial government and is funding about 250 projects like these around B.C.
“Those projects help B.C. and Canada meet our climate change targets under the Paris Agreement,” Kozuki said, noting generating biofuel is more environmentally friendly than burning slash piles, which produce methane gas.