Association News and Publications

WPAC combustible gas

Wood pellet plants produce syngas – a highly explosive mix of carbon monoxide, methane, hydrogen and other volatiles – during various stages of the pellet manufacturing process. This combustible gas is produced whenever biomass is subjected to high temperatures in a low-oxygen environment. It often accumulates within enclosed areas such as dryers, ducts, cyclones and piping. If not managed properly, syngas can cause catastrophic fires, explosions and deflagrations and resultant injuries, loss of life and equipment. This phenomenon is equally true for woody and agricultural biomass.

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bush residuals 2'
Canada’s forests are some of the most resilient and sustainably managed in the world. They are subject to stringent environmental regulation, careful management and extensive third-party certification. That’s why customers requiring sustainable biomass products have confidence in the Canadian wood pellet sector.

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Meadowbank Hixon 20161124 MG 0542 VTL
The wood pellet industry employs 2,500 British Columbians. Photo courtesy Pinnacle Renewable Energy.

In 2018, the Government of British Columbia released its Clean Energy Plan, promising to create opportunities for all while protecting the province’s clean air, land and water. Remarkably, the plan gives almost no consideration of forest-based bioenergy. Nevertheless, the government did commit to renew the province’s bioenergy strategy, which now – two years later – it is working on. Alarmingly, the government is planning to exclude the use of solid biofuels for heat in B.C. The wood pellet industry is deeply troubled by this.

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WPAC Dust Safety Week photo
Raw material storage at wood pellet plant. Photo courtesy WPAC.

Combustible wood dust in confined storage could present a risk of fire and explosion if it’s not managed effectively. The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) has developed tools to improve safety and lower the risk when working around wood fibre storage.

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Indigenous Day biomass 1
Working together at the Granules LG pellet plant.

In Canada, June 21, the summer solstice, has been designated National Indigenous Peoples Day. As stated by the Government of Canada, this is a day to “recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.” It is also a time to look forward to the opportunities that lie in front of us.

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