As forest-origin biomass use has increased, logistics of supply and storage become more complex and innovative solutions are required to improve feedstock quality for the growing bioenergy industry. The variety of feedstocks available is quite complex, with multiple feedstocks coming from different streams (at-the-stump, roadside, transfer yard, mill) and accessible under different formats (wood chips, bark, fines, tops, and branches or low grade logs). The quality of biomass is critical for many bioenergy processes and best management practices (BMPs) are required to guarantee access to quality feedstocks at any given time.
A priority in the supply chain is the need to improve the business and policy environment for biomass and biomass heat markets by developing better understanding and best practices for storage of forest biomass. With that in mind, FPInnovations has undertaken an exhaustive work aimed at compiling field data and measuring the financial implications of innovative storage practices with the intent of helping the industry better understand and manage forest feedstocks and improve financial impact of their operations.
Best Management Practices guide
FPInnovations has recently published the Best Management Practices Guide for Access to Quality Forest Feedstocks, a document that assesses the economic benefits of best management practices on feedstock quality and process improvement for the bioenergy sector.
Common drivers in the forest and bioenergy industries are the need to demonstrate sustainable forest management and harvesting with reduced environmental impacts of operations. After identifying gaps in the management of biomass quality based on different types of forest-origin biomass, the guide proposes opportunities to create value from marginal forest stands with innovative harvesting and recovery techniques for different conditions. It also covers items and tools that have the potential to help improve the supply chain of the future.
FPJoule, an FPInnovations web-based system used to evaluate the amount of energy contained in biomass based on its origin and moisture content, is one of these solutions. For example, FPJoule can be used to quantify the financial advantages of using biomass as a fuel source compared to conventional fossil fuels. Best management practices for storage are also outlined in the guide for various types of biomass, with key parameters influencing biomass quality during storage.
The document also presents cost-benefit case studies for roundwood and bark, which will help demonstrate benefits and net savings of good management practices.
New app to calculate roadside biomass volumes
To meet and adapt to the industry’s needs, FPInnovations also recently announced the launch of the BiOS app, a free, convenient, and easy-to-use tool that can calculate roadside biomass volumes and potential greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits in real time.
The BiOS app is intended to:
• Serve the purpose of developing the forest bioeconomy clusters for advanced biomaterial manufacturing in British Columbia and may support other related government key priorities like GHG targets;
• Increase use of forest-origin biomass to support the bio-economy; and
• Improve area planning and support decision makers by having a better understanding of the fibre potential located in each Timber Supply Area (TSA).
The development of this app was a key part of a larger initiative within the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) aiming to develop a Geographic Information System for the development of British Columbia’s forest bioeconomy.
The Best Management Practices Guide for Access to Quality Forest Feedstocks was made possible with financial support from the provincial Nova Scotia Innovation Hub Initiative as well as federally from Natural Resources Canada under the Program of Energy Research and Development (PERD).
The guide and app are available by visiting https://fpinnovations.ca/ResearchProgram/forest-operations/fibre-supply/pages/tools-and-resources.aspx.
More information about these tools can be obtained by contacting Sylvain Volpe, Senior Scientist, Fiber Supply at FPInnovations.