Merritt, B.C.: A grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is helping Valley Carriers take a new approach to bring 24,000 cubic metres of wood fibre into Merritt to be used to generate electricity instead of burning it in slash piles. With the FESBC grant, Valley Carriers initially explored an opportunity to use a forest slash bundler to see what they could recover in waste residual forest fibre piled along forestry roads in the area. The pilot hoped to prepare biomass bundles that could be transported by regular logging trucks. Valley Carriers modified their approach after a full evaluation of the bundler and approached the remaining utilization opportunities with a more conventional grinding operation.
“The project trial had some initial challenges, but what we appreciate about working with the team at Valley Carriers is their approach and innovative style,” said Dave Conly, Operations Manager, FESBC. “They have been able to pivot and get into the grinding business to assist the local economy in improving forest fibre utilization. By all accounts, it has been a great success so far and a benefit to B.C.’s environment and economy.”
With a funding grant of $416,029 from FESBC, the recovered fibre will be delivered to Merritt Green Energy and used to generate electricity. When the residual fibre is utilized instead of burned in slash piles, there are fewer greenhouse gas emissions contributing to help achieve B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets. Additionally, the electricity generated can displace electricity otherwise generated by fossil fuels.
“The FESBC funding is allowing us to provide a solution for fibre removal that was previously burned because of high hauling and transport costs,” said Derek Mobbs, Interior Operations Manager, Valley Carriers. “It is great to see the wood fibre in the brush piles being utilized instead of burned and to see extra value being created out of our local timber resources.”
Valley Carriers’ Merritt-based division specializes in forest product transportation, sawmill residual service, supply, and grinding residual forest fibre. The FESBC funding made it possible for the company to extend their grinding operations and keep up to 10 people employed with 5,750-person hours generated from this project. Employment included the full-time operations of a grinder, loader, four 53-foot trucks and the part-time employment of a dozer, excavator, and a spare truck. The fibre produced from this project is anticipated to provide Merritt Green Energy with 37 days of run time.
Klassen notes the FESBC grant is projected to generate $1.75 million in revenue that helps to sustain members of the community who have endured multiple sawmill curtailments and closures over the last decade. “We have been able to support our community with good paying jobs from a resource that otherwise would have gone unrecovered. At times, we have had to juggle our operations to address customer needs, and without the flexibility of this FESBC support, this would not have been possible.”
The project has also led to collaborative working relationships with Stuwix Resources, Tolko, and Aspen Planers to recover forest fibre in other parts of the Southern Interior.
For information on/or an interview with FESBC regarding this project, contact:
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | firstname.lastname@example.org | 250.574.0221