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Logistics of supplying biomass from a mountain pine beetle-infested forest to a power plant in British Columbia

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The search for alternative energy sources has increased the interest in forest biomass. During the past few years, the severe infestation of the mountain pine beetle (MPB) within the forests of interior British Columbia (BC) has led to huge volumes of dead wood that exceed the capacity of the lumber industry. One way to make the most value of the surplus wood is to use it as the feedstock for bioenergy. The high costs associated with harvest and transport, and uncertainty in supply logistics are issues related to forest biomass utilization. This paper presents the development of a forest biomass supply logistics simulation model and its application to a case of supplying MPB-killed biomass from Quesnel timber supply area (one of the most infested areas in the interior BC) to a potential 300 MW power plant adjacent to the city of Quesnel. It provides values of quantity, cost and moisture content of biomass which are important factors in feasibility study of bioenergy projects. In the case of a conventional harvesting system, the biomass recovered from roadside residues in 1 year will meet only about 30% of the annual demand of the power plant with an estimated delivered cost of Can $45 per oven-dry tonne of woodchips. Sensitivity analyses were also performed.
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Keywords: EXTEND simulation software; Integrated Biomass Supply Analysis and Logistics (IBSAL); forest biomass; forest biomass supply logistics; simulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Wood Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada 2: Chemical & Biological Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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