UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pelletization strategies to reduce costs of wildfire mitigation Jacobson, Ryan


The Prince George Timber Supply Area (TSA) produces 43,000 dry tonnes of easily accessible forest residues in the area around Prince George with an average of 279 m³ haˉ¹ or roughly 36 tonnes haˉ¹. These forest residues are excellent feedstock for high moisture mobile pelletization, using a self-loading mobile woodchipper to comminute and forward the material to the trailer mounted pelletization system. A high moisture pellet mill can accept feedstock with moisture contents up to 36% wet basis and reduce the needed drying energy 4-7% by extruding water through the compression and frictional heating during the pelletization process. Wood pellets produced in the mobile wood pellet system cost $402.71 tonneˉ¹. Feedstock costs were $64.89 tonneˉ¹, labor costs were $74.63 tonneˉ¹ and energy costs were $30.17 tonneˉ¹. Transportation costs in the mobile system are minimized by limiting the distance the chipped forest residues travel and transporting the much denser wood pellets the longest distances. Drying in the mobile system can also use forest residues to generate heat in place of natural gas or propane. In the traditional pellet mill assessed using the same parameters, wood pellets cost $181.98 tonneˉ¹ to produce. The mobile pellet mill employs 5 people to operate the system, a manager to oversee all the operations and an additional 5 to operate the self-loading mobile woodchipper used to collect feedstock. If the province provided a subsidy to cover the difference of $222.71 tonneˉ¹ between the market selling price of wood pellets and the production costs of the mobile system, the province would receive $1.62 in benefits for every dollar invested. The mobile system provided the province with $382.83 tonneˉ¹ in reduced fuel treatment costs, $69.76 tonneˉ¹ in avoided Employment Insurance payments, $12.56 tonneˉ¹ business taxes, and $6.98 tonneˉ¹ in income taxes while producing 89,232 tonnes of wood pellets from 22 mobile systems.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International