FPInnovations: Powering Up BC Communities with Sustainable Energy Systems
- Region: British Columbia
BC’s Indigenous communities are participating in forest sector innovation and benefiting from sustainable forestry.
FPInnovations’ Indigenous Forest Sector Technical Support Program in BC
- Category: Clean technology, Indigenous, Community Economic Development, Natural Resources
- Story Date: 2020-11-17
Many of British Columbia’s Indigenous communities are seeking greater participation and benefits from the forestry sector. For the Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation, located in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region, this means partnering with BC-based FPInnovations to develop a forest biomass supply chain that will provide sustainable energy to their community and economic opportunities for their members.
FPInnovations performs state-of-the-art research, develops advanced technologies, and delivers innovative solutions to complex projects throughout the forestry sector’s value chain in Canada. With FPInnovations’ expertise in innovative forestry solutions, the Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation is bringing biomass energy systems to their community. Biomass systems are a technology that converts woodchips to energy that can power and heat community buildings. This technology significantly reduces reliance on diesel generators and propane in the community, displaces approximately 300 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually, and provides 10 local jobs to Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation members.
Christoph Schilling, FPInnovations’ Senior Researcher and Program Lead for the Indigenous Forestry Program – which is supported by WD – has worked closely with the Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation to implement the project. “We’re working towards a more sustainable forest that creates a sustainable supply of fiber for our industry, but also respects the traditional values of our Indigenous communities”.
The vast majority of British Columbia’s Indigenous communities live within forested areas. Building capacity within these communities means that Indigenous Peoples can enjoy the long-term economic benefits that comes with sustainable resource management and innovative forest product solutions.
Transcript: “FPInnovations: Powering Up BC Communities with Sustainable Energy Systems”
(Scenes of forests and logs being transported)
(Voiceover: Cristophe Schilling. Senior Researcher, FPInnovations)
Some of the major challenges in the forest sector, especially here in BC, is the access to fiber. I think a lot of the solutions we can provide are focused on efficiencies in terms of transportation, harvesting and forest management, as well as small scale support for Indigenous communities.
My name is Christoph Schilling, I’m a senior researcher with FP Innovations and I’m also our program lead for the Indigenous Forestry Program at FP Innovations.
FP Innovations is a non-for-profit private research organization. We’re serving our members, which is predominately the larger industry members of the forest sector, as well as the federal and provincial government, in providing technology and solutions for the forest sector to stay competitive and we’re also working a lot with Indigenous communities in the various provinces to help them participate in the forest sector as well.
Western Economic Diversification was—or, is still is a really strong partner in our Indigenous Forestry Program. So over the past several years we’ve been working really closely in supporting Indigenous communities to create businesses and to be more efficient in participating in the forest sector.
Projects range from traditional sawmilling to forest operations, bioenergy projects or non-timber forest products and it’s been a really efficient collaboration.
So this specific project started about three years ago. The Lhoosk'uz Dené Nation reached out to us and they were looking for ways to utilize that fiber around their community to essentially go back to where they were a couple of years ago—in the middle of a nice and beautiful forest.
(Text on screen: The Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation is located 173 km west of Quesnel in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region of BC. This is BC’s largest lumber producing region and is home to an industry providing jobs for nearly one-quarter of its residents.)
One of the other things that FP Innovations recommended was the use of a small-scale combined heat and power units in the community to not only use the resources that are available but also to displace diesel in the community and reduce carbon emissions at the same time.
The biomass combined heat and power system is essentially a conversion technology. So it uses biomass or wood fiber feedstock and converts it to power and heat. In this specific case it’s called gasification.
The project would roughly displace about a hundred thousand liters of diesel once completed. That’s the equivalent of about 300 tons of GHG emissions every year and at the same time employ up to ten people in maintaining and operating the biomass supply chain.
I think we’re moving towards a more sustainable forest that creates a sustainable supply of fiber for our industry but also respects the traditional values of our Indigenous communities and that forests might look very different from what we’re seeing today.
(Western Economic Diversification Canada wordmark)
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