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Research and Development Partnership with University of British Columbia

by Ellen Cools

WPAC and UBC are partners in the Biomass and Bioenergy Research Group (“BBRG”). Sample research topics include:

  • Self-heating and spontaneous combustion of wood pellets
  • Wood dust explosibility
  • Hygiene effects of airborne dust
  • Bark as feedstock
  • Wood pellet lifecycle analysis
  • Ventilation, storage, and cooling
  • Oxygen depletion during sea transportation
  • Off-gassing phenomena
  • Materials safety data sheets
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Examples of equipment in the BBRG laboratory at UBC

Other WPAC Development Initiatives

  • WPAC’s research director, Staffan Melin was a contributing author of the Pellet Handbook published in 2010 by Earthscan.
  • WPAC is developing a best practices handbook, audit process, and certification program to improve the design, operation, and maintenance of wood pellet manufacturing facilities.
  • WPAC’s research director, Staffan Melin is chair of a committee of the International Organization for Standardization that is developing standard testing procedures for wood pellets.
  • Together with Natural Resources Canada, FPInnovations, Premium Pellet Ltd., and BC Bioenergy Network, WPAC is developing a commercial scale pellet torrefaction facility. Torrefaction is a process that improves the quality of wood pellets by increasing energy density, making them waterproof, and increasing friability so that they can be puliverized directly with coal.
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These pictures show wood pellets (left) and pellets of torrefied wood (right).

Other resources

Please refer to these white papers for more information on wood pellet research on health, safety, and transport issues.

Research on off-gassing and self heating of wood pellets during bulk storage

Modelling of off-gassing during marine transport – wood pellets

Review of off-gassing from wood pellets – Canadian perspective

Emissions during transport

Off-gassing during transport

Explosibility of dust from pellets

Airborne dust evaluation – wood pellets

Oxygen depletion during sea transport – wood pellets

Airflow for bulk wood pellets