Monday, December 8, 2008

BC Company Turns Wood Waste Into BioEnergy

NORMAN LAKE Dec. 5 – Pine Star Logging has started grinding wood waste for Pacific BioEnergy’s wood pellet market after investing $750,000 in a new wood grinding machine, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.

“The work Pine Star and Pacific BioEnergy are doing highlights the potential for wood bioenergy in forestry’s future,” said Bell as he toured the Norman Lake site. “The forest sector has an important role to play in advancing B.C.’s green energy advantage, and Pine Star is an excellent example of a smaller, local company finding new ways to obtain more value from our forests.”

“Now that local companies are seeing the advantage of utilizing the wood waste and residue left over at logging sites rather than burning it, we have the opportunity to build a new culture around dealing with forest debris,” said George Stedeford, manager of commercial operations for Pacific BioEnergy. “A reduction in the burning of logging debris will decrease the amount of fine particulate released into the air, creating a better air shed and air quality for Prince George and its surrounding communities.”

When used to generate energy, wood waste is considered carbon-neutral because it releases no more carbon into the atmosphere than it absorbs during its lifetime. As a result, bioenergy can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere if it replaces non-renewable sources of energy.

“This is the beginning of a brand new industry because what was once considered waste now has new value,” said Keith Brandner, manager of Pine Star Logging. “We’ve made this significant investment because we see a future in bioenergy. Plus, the portability of this operation means we can go wherever we need to and harvest what has previously been left behind on the forest floor.”

The hog fuel that Pine Star is creating from grinding wood waste and other logging debris left on logging sites will be used to create wood pellets for Pacific BioEnergy’s overseas fuel markets. Hog fuel is processed through a “hog” – a large mechanical shredder or grinder and consists of pulverized bark, shavings, sawdust, logging residue, low-grade lumber and lumber rejects from the operation of pulp mills, saw mills and plywood plants.

Pacific BioEnergy, a privately held company, has its corporate office in Vancouver and its manufacturing plant in Prince George. The company only sources wood fibre from certified companies that practise sustainable forest management. It has been manufacturing high quality wood pellets since 1994 and exporting overseas to international utilities since 1998.

Supporting the development of new bioenergy opportunities is a key step in the BC Bioenergy Strategy. For more information on the strategy, or to download a copy, visit


contact: Communications
Ministry of Forests and Range
250 387-4592

Province Honours BC's Oldest Living Forester

VICTORIA Nov.27 – Lorne Swanell, the province’s oldest living forester, at 100 years, was honoured today, with the creation of a $1,500 bursary to the University of Northern British Columbia’s Ecological Science and Management program in his name.

Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell, created the bursary to recognize and thank Swanell, who was the province’s chief forester from 1965 to 1972, for his contributions to B.C.’s forest industry.

“The creation of this bursary in Lorne Swanell’s name is a fitting honour for a man whose dedication and commitment to our forest industry is to be commended,” said Premier Gordon Campbell. “We thank Mr. Swanell for his long service to his province and his country.”

“Lorne is a true icon in the forest industry and has advocated for sustainable forest management as far back as 1932 when he worked at the site of the province’s first reforestation project on West Thurlow Island,” said Bell. “This bursary has been created to thank Lorne for his dedication and service to B.C.’s forest industry and to hopefully inspire and encourage upcoming forestry students to follow in Lorne’s large and illustrious footsteps.”

Lorne Swanell was born in Victoria on Sept. 2, 1908. He attended the University of British Columbia and completed a bachelor of arts degree in May 1930 and a bachelor of applied science (forest engineering) with honours in May 1931.

He began his career in Victoria with the Land Branch of the B.C. Forest Service, became a ranger for a year and then started work as a junior forester in Kamloops, which was experiencing a serious mountain pine beetle epidemic. He moved to Prince George in 1939 to become the assistant district forester. From 1939 to 1945, Lorne served in Europe during the Second World War as part of the 2nd Survey Regiment.

Upon his return from the war, Swanell resumed his duties as assistant district forester in Prince George, eventually becoming district forester. While in Prince George, Swanell met and married Grace, his lifelong companion for 55 years until her passing in 2004.

In 1965, he became chief forester of B.C., holding this prominent position until retiring in 1972. His designation as Registered Professional Forester #6 (retired) now makes him the oldest living forester in British Columbia.


contact: Sophia Proctor
Ministry of Forests and Range
250 387-4592

Canadian forestry firms lost more than a half billion dollars in Q3; PwC report

Pricewaterhouse releases report today showing state of Canadian forest companies.


Canadian forestry companies had losses totalling $552 million in the third quarter as the U.S. housing market continued to deteriorate and companies adjusted production in response to weak demand for North American building products.

Montreal-based Domtar was the only company of the six largest public forest firms included in the survey in Eastern Canada to report positive and improved earnings in the most recent quarter.

The $552 million loss for the companies studied in the third quarter included restructuring costs and asset impairment charges of $302 million compared to $14 million reported a year earlier.

Link to full article:


One of the positives for forest companies and exporters is that the Canadian dollar has fallen to around the 80 cent US level in recent weeks, which gives a 25% premium in Canadian dollars for any US sales.