BBRG members attended WPAC 2022 conference

On September 20 to 21, 2022, BBRG members attended the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) Conference (see photo below). The WPAC conference was chaired by Vaughan Basset, the chair of WPAC. Attendees included wood pellet producers, equipment suppliers, consultants, and academics.

From the left, Dr. Fahimeh Yazdan Panah, Dr. Gholamhassan Najafi, Mohammad Aliahmadi, Omid Gholami, Dr. Mahmood Ebadian, Dr. Jun Sian Lee.

The key learnings:

  • Federal and B.C. provincial representatives acknowledged the importance of the wood pellet industry to use forestry residues and to add value to materials that have not been used before. They encourage the production of “add-value products”, such as biofabrics.
  • Karen Brandt from Brandt Consulting discussed the positive role of the pellet industry in sourcing fibre sustainably and supplying bioenergy to the world. According to the recently published report, in B.C., 85% of the fibre for pellets comes from the by-products of the sawmills and allied industries. The remaining 15% is supplied directly from the forest and includes low-quality logs and bush grind (slashes).
  • As discussed by Jeff Mycroft from Fike Canada, WPAC recently published a report as a result of the Belt Dryer Safety Working Committee, in which BBRG members participated. The report recommends the use of indirect fired belt dryers to reduce fire risk. The data from testing the properties of infeed materials of pellet plants showed a high degree of variability in moisture content, contaminants (ash content), and particle size distributions. The testing was performed in-house in BBRG facilities. Belt dryer manufacturers require infeed materials to be free of contaminants and to have narrow particle size distributions.
  • Written and presented by Process safety and hazard analysis expert Kayleigh Rayner Brown, director of Obex Risk Ltd., a report entitled “Analysis of Deflagration Isolation in Wood Pellet Production for Safer Operation” was published online. The report focuses on process safety management in the application and maintenance of isolation devices by establishing strong process safety culture within a pellet plant. Mike Tasker, WorkSafeBC Safety Officer voiced his approval of the progress on process safety done by the WPAC and its members.

Written by Dr. Jun Sian Lee, post-doctoral researcher of BBRG