When they look at a forest, most people see a source of paper, cardboard and lumber. But jet fuel?
The notion may seem far-fetched, but not in the beleaguered forestry industry. Efforts to produce airplane fuel, along with environmentally friendly plastics, electricity and futuristic nano-materials, are emerging as alternatives to the dimming fortunes of the sector’s traditional mainstays – newsprint and lumber.
“We’ve done extensive research. The global demand for bioproducts from the forest in the next 10 years will reach $200-billion a year,” predicts Avrim Lazar, head of the Forest Products Association of Canada, which earlier this year issued an unusual manifesto advising companies that the long-term solution to the industry’s woes is to develop sidelines as energy and bioplastics producers.