Defined as the use of wood and plant biomass to generate electricity and heat, bioenergy is a growing renewable-energy technology. Biomass includes forest and sawmill residue, such as bark, sawdust, wood chips, trees, agricultural residues and organic waste.
By converting wood processing waste into a green energy source, used in mills and beyond, British Columbia’s (B.C.) forest sector utilizes most of the wood fibre in each log. The emerging bioenergy industry in B.C. and throughout Canada has the potential to significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Researchers continue to explore the many ways bioenergy can be utilized and progress has been made on using wood waste to achieve efficiency and energy. Most of the energy used to manufacture wood products comes from residual biomass. It’s common for pulp and paper companies and mills to have cogeneration facilities, also known as combined heat and power, which convert residual wood fiber to electrical and thermal energy.
Most pulp mills operating in B.C. now have power generation capacity, lowering the industry’s carbon footprint of products produced. As a result, B.C.’s forest industry is the largest bioenergy producer in North America.
Bioenergy technologies from wood waste can:
- produce heat, power or combined heat & power
- process biomass into solid fuel
- refine biomass into liquid fuel