UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The potential of increasing the use of BC forest residues for bioenergy and biofuels Larock, Fraser


Groups such as the International Energy Agency have predicted that increased bioenergy and biofuels production will be needed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fossil fuel use globally. British Columbia (BC) has a world-renowned forest sector and the highest percentage of third party certified sustainable forests in the world. Therefore, BC is well positioned to supply sustainable forest biomass for bioenergy/biofuels. Currently, underutilized forest residues could provide a major source of biomass for bioenergy/biofuels. However, the use of forest residues under current BC forest management standards does not fulfill some sustainability requirements defined by trade policies. Therefore, an improved sustainability verification system would support the growth of bioenergy/biofuels globally. Most forest certification systems were initially developed for traditional forest products such as lumber and pulp. In contrast, the evolving bioenergy sector uses biomass-sourcing certification standards that have limited connection to in-forest certification procedures. As a result, gaps between these certification standards challenge the potential of forest residues being used as sustainable feedstocks for the current and future bioeconomy. A partnership between forest and biomass-sourcing sustainability standards is likely, to connect GHG emissions data and other key metrics along the supply chain. The Programme of Endorsed Forest Certifications has begun developing a GHG tracking system for forest managers and is considering partnership opportunities with the Sustainable Biomass Program, a prominent wood pellet certification organization. However, there are significant economic challenges limiting the increased use of BC forest residues. To reduce the economic challenges of using forest residues, BC’s forest and climate policies need to be modified, while making sure any unintended negative stakeholder impacts are considered. The thesis work indicates that a combination of policy and economic incentives will be required for commercial-scale use of forest residues. One way to enhance forest residue use is through the use of regulatory incentives. As described in the thesis, it is likely that any increased use of BC forest residues will require significant government support via policies that will ensure the sustainable management of BC’s forest while further developing markets for the various biomaterials derived from forest residues.

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