A sawmill in McBride, B.C., that shutdown 13 years ago is getting a new life as a wood pellet plant. Boreal BioEnergy, under an exclusive technology license, can produce torrefied (black) pellets from almost any kind of available wood fibre.
The major source of feedstock will be harvested from the vast tracts of forest decimated by the pine beetle. This presently covers over 730 million cubic meters (m3) or the equivalent of 620 million tonnes of British Columbia’s merchantable timber.
Boreal is utilizing an innovative torrefaction technology called FlashTor that was developed by Blackwood Technology of the Netherlands (see video above). This unique approach allows Boreal to use a wide variety of forestry biomass to create homogeneous end-product that has a consistent heating value and favourable material handling characteristics.
Unlike other torrefaction technologies, FlashTor allows for rapid conversion of ‘green’ woody biomass to the precise torrefied material specified by the end user. The technology is based on multi-staged fluidized bed reactor technology proven at industrial scale by Blackwood Technology in the Netherlands.
According to the CBC, Boreal BioEnergy of Vancouver, BC, has purchased the site and started building the new plant in the community about 200 kilometres southeast of Prince George in the central Interior.
The plant’s first shipment of wood pellets is scheduled to arrive in Japan in 2021.
Currently in the engineering phase, the plant, once completed, will initially produce 150,000 metric tonnes.
With a full build out, the capacity increases to between 225,000 – 250,000 metric tonnes of black pellets being produced annually.
In addition, the McBride site will also boast biomass gasification, power generation and a specialty sawmill. This will allow for a completely self-contained facility, run solely on forestry waste.
The company expects to begin site work in spring of 2019, with construction starting in the fall and estimated completion date late 2020.