Green Lining Found in Beetle Infestation

Beetle-killed Wood Could Supply Clean, Biomass Energy in BC

December 14, 2005

Excerpt from the article:
The lead author of the study, Professor Amit Kumar from the University of Alberta, summarized the team's work:

"Our study shows that a large scale power plant using about 7 per cent of the tree biomass killed in the MPB infestation could provide central BC with 300 MW of power for the next 20 years," said Professor Kumar. "It would also help Canada meet its climate change commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, and put British Columbia in the forefront of biomass power generation in the world."

"The millions of hectares of dead trees are certainly a cloud, but the cloud has a silver lining," said David Layzell, CEO of BIOCAP. "The huge amount of dead biomass in a concentrated area creates a unique opportunity for the affected communities to make the transition to a sustainable, bio-based economy -- an economy in which our forest and agricultural lands provide not only food and fiber, but the energy that we now get from fossil fuels."

The final report focuses on two sizes of power plant -- 220 MW or 300 MW located in central BC where the beetle infestation is most severe: Quesnel and Nazko. Power distributors in BC, including BC Hydro, are sourcing half of their new power from green sources. The estimated cost of the power, ranging from $68 to $74 per MW hour, is very competitive compared to other green sources; power cost includes a 10 percent return on investment. Federal green power subsidies and revenue from the sale of carbon credits could drive the price down even further. The study also noted that there is the potential to build more than one of these power plants.

"This is a unique opportunity for BC that can be developed now, since the volume of dead trees far exceeds the capacity of current and future lumber, pulp and board plants," said Peter Flynn, another author of the study and the Poole Chair for Management for Engineers at the University of Alberta. "Large scale boilers using wood are commercially available today, and early development of a power plant will speed reforestation and prevent loss of useful tree biomass to decay."
Great news for my area! I live right in the heart of the beetle-kill area. Our principle industry here is forest products and the beetle-kill will have a severe effect on our economy. This is a wonderful opportunity to make lemonaide out of lemons! I see electrical power as a renewable commodity that we should be producing and we should be selling the excess to the highest bidders.
Large scale boilers have been available for 30 years or better.They produce huge amounts of ash and are not as clean as you might think .If these plants were built they would need som kind of new scrubbers to keep emissions down .How do i know this they mill I work in just installed a turbo generator and has been burning huge amounts of hog fuel and they're developing huge ash problems . What are we going to do with the ash land fill
Fly ash and smoke can be a problem alright if they tried to build it on the cheap using an old design or without scrubbers. I'm surprised that the province even allowed them to build a plant like that. Beehive burners were banned years ago for just that reason. West Coast Energy operates a large wood waste-fired power plant right in Williams lake. They have been selling power to BC Hydro for years. They emit no smoke and no fly-ash but I don't believe they capture carbon dioxide yet.

Actually, modern designs would not only eliminate smoke and fly ash but would capture carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) as well.
Where does it all go I'll tell you into landfills .Do you know how many nasty chemicals they use to keep those boilers running Tons os it .I know I've cleaned just about every industrial boiler in this province and there not as cut and dried as you say.There nasty inside let me tell you .Till you've cleaned one up close and personal you have no idea .Hell the operators don't even know how nasty they get .Have you ever seen the fly ash you talk about thats only one kind .Have you seen the saltcake they produce or the gravel ash that comes out the bottom .Wheres that stuff going ?Landfill I guess Like I said its just not as clean as you think

Have you seen the saltcake they produce or the gravel ash that comes out the bottom? Where's that stuff going ? Landfill I guess

Well I'm pretty sure we aren't going to shut down every boiler in Canada. You do make a good point though, we are dumping toxic wastes in landfills. We just have to get out of the mindset of dumping toxins, in the atmosphere, in waters, in landfills. It's stupid, shortsighted, and wasteful. Most toxic waste is chock-full of valuable chemicals that we are wasting! Those that can't be recycled can usually be neutralized or at least contained in safe storage.

The toughest wastes to capture are those we dump into the atmosphere. These can be captured and recycled. Surely we can do the same with solid wastes.

As for water; I remember flying into Prince George airport on a regular basis. On final approach over the Fraser River, we passed directly over the outflow of the sewage treatment plant in the middle of the river. Up to that point, the river was a grey-green and the dull brown plume from the outflow fouled the whole of the river. How can we do that! I realize the sewage was semi-treated before entering the river but it sure looks nasty and I wouldn't want to eat a salmon that had been in that water.

Whats worse is Victoria, the capital of our Province dumps their raw sewage directly into the ocean! I don't think I'll spend any time on the beaches down there! I sure as hell won't be eating any seafood! Why do we think it's okay to foul our own nests? I suppose it costs too much to clean it up?

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