Integrating biorefining process steps within the Canadian forest products sector
Thursday, May 1, 2014: 1:25 PM
Grand Ballroom F-G, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
Warren E. Mabee1, Jean Blair2, Saeed Ghafghazi2, Peter Milley1 and James D. Stephen1, (1)Queen's Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada, (2)Policy Studies/Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada
Achieving the promise of the forest-based biorefinery has to date remained a challenge.  Past work has attempted to build successful business plans by incorporating factors including feedstock supply and cost, transportation and distribution of materials and products, and the efficiency and cost of conversion platforms.  Recent studies have stressed the importance of identifying low-cost feedstocks within existing supply chains.  Our analysis suggests that insufficient attention is paid to interaction between the following: (a) the abundance and character of feedstocks currently available in the forest products value cascade; (b) the market potential for unique value-added products derived from wood chemistry (particularly lignin and hemicellulose); (c) the presence of existing infrastructure belonging to the forest sector or related industry, and; (d) the opportunity costs associated with redirecting forest materials from conventional forest products to advanced fuels, chemicals, and materials.  Using case studies in Ontario and BC, we explore the flow of fibre within ‘clusters’ of the forest products sector.  We discuss the potential deployment of biorefining technology based upon that fibre flow, and examine technologies that match scale opportunities.  A distributed biorefinery model, where different actions are undertaken at different geographic locations, is described.  Where possible, we refer to existing or emerging pilot facilities to understand the cost and impact of developing these installations products, and we speculate upon the changes to existing forest products output.  Policy recommendations and next steps are summarized.