The Boreal Deal - A new era of joint leadership in the boreal forest

Theme: Biomass mills

New era of operation

From coast to coast, the Canadian forest-products industry is carving out its place in the world’s emerging bioeconomy, where renewable, clean energy plays a starring role. The opportunities around biomass are vast, and nations around the world are transforming their economies to secure them. New technologies and value-added products surrounding biomass will help us meet the carbon-neutrality goals set out in the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

Why is biomass important?

Biomass is organic material from living organisms — in this case, trees, which store energy from the sun. As a renewable-energy source, biomass refers to biological material from wood, wood by-products, landfill gas, alcohol fuels and plants grown to generate electricity or produce heat. If burned efficiently, biomass results in no net carbon dioxide emissions, since the trees absorbed an equal amount of carbon dioxide as they grew to maturity. Biomass can also be converted into energy without being burned. It can be transformed into a liquid that can be used to create a number of products, ranging from food and energy to building materials, medicine, chemicals and more.

Biomass and the forest-products industry

The forest-products industry is moving to adopt new technologies surrounding biomass, with mills across the country harnessing its energy to help power their operations.

In addition to being a cleaner source of energy, biomass has other environmental and economic opportunities. Industry scientists are developing new technologiesto transform wood fibre into biofuels for home heating and for powering vehicles; biochemicals to produce cosmetics, solvents, food additives and renewable plastics; and biomaterials, such as “intelligent” paper and engineered wood products.

According to the Future Bio-pathways Project, a study commissioned by the Forest Products Association of Canada, there is much economic gain in the realm of bioproducts/traditional mill integration. The study suggests that the lumber industry is the key to the global competitiveness of the traditional and emerging forest-products sector, while the pulp-and-paper industry has more potential for financial gain by integrating bioproducts into traditional mills. That integration also offers five times as many jobs as bio-operations alone.

For more information, visit

Future of forestry, Biomass: Biomass explained
Canadian Geographic feature: War for the woods

Photos

Kraft recovery boilers could contribute substantial green electrical energy to the grid. © Forest Products Association of Canada
Kraft recovery boilers could contribute substantial green electrical energy to the grid.
© Forest Products Association of Canada