Bioenergy opportunities in the pulp and paper and sawmill industries

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Courtesy of BioEnergy Conference & Exhibition

Fernando Preto said the Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology (CANMET) Energy Technology Centre in Ottawa is “not a fundamental research lab…. We help industry develop technologies.” The Biomass and Renewables Group “took a different approach, asking, ‘What’s the converted value of one dry tonne of wood?’” Preto’s team made a number of assumptions about pellet-generated heat, power, and combined heat and power (CHP) respectively. He estimated values of $86, $124, and $181 respectively. “For the latter [CHP], we have commercially available technologies,” he said.

Pulp mills generate huge quantities of residues that they use, Preto said. Sawmills have two categories, large and small, both of which can potentially produce enough of their own power and heat. For small mills, “it’s very expensive—that’s the reason more people don’t do it.” Stationary engineers are necessary and expensive and “below 10 megawatts (MWe) of production. It’s hard to justify the manpower.”

“Gas cleanup is an issue” for gasification, said Preto. Nexterra and Enerkem Technologies Inc. are examples of leading gasification companies in Canada. He noted two other successful units in Denmark and Austria, but said they too were “very expensive.”

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