It’s no secret that British Columbia is currently in the thralls of one of the largest recorded mountain pine beetle outbreaks in north America, which has infested and killed about half British Columbia’s commercial pine forests.
But for some,the outbreak has a silver lining.
“If you were to take two-tenths of one percent (of the infested wood) per year, that would be enough to meet the five percent renewable fuel standard for B.C.” says Ross MacLachlan, president and CEO of Lignol Biofuel.
He points that without the outbreak, the waste produced by the existing forest products industry is already close enough to the amount needed to produce the material necessary.
“It really is a tremendously promising thing for Canada to have this resource at its fingertips,” says MacLachlan.
Of course, the downside is a lack of cheap technology to produce cellulosic ethanol-the biofuel-from trees on a commercial scale.
Lignol breaks the biomass down into three components-cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin (which he points out could be used as a substitute for the binding chemical bisphenol).