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Linking forests and communities : opportunities for bioheat in central Ontario Bung, Brandon


Canada is home to 10% of the world’s forest and these forests play a major role in both carbon sequestration and storage and in supporting Canada in achieving its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 relative to a 2005 baseline. To date, Canada has largely overlooked the emission reduction opportunities that comes from using forest biomass for large-scale urban heating with district energy systems. By finding applications for forest biomass, a reduction in forest fuel accumulation or reducing natural losses is possible. Biomass-based heating technologies have long been deployed in Europe, particularly in European countries. However, in Canada there have been challenges to adopt large-scale biomass heating with concerns seeming to be centered around the capital cost feasibility and long-term forest sustainability. Using a case study approach, this project addresses these concerns through quantitively estimating the implications of managing forests for biomass fuels, an economic analysis of multiple supply chains for biomass procurement, and then finally a comparison of forest biomass with the community’s existing heating utilities. The study, which is in three phases, focuses on the delivery of wood chips from central Ontario to a potential biomass energy centre in Haliburton County. The first phase will be an analysis for the heat load demands of 4 distinct theoretical systems for Haliburton Village. The second phase will establish a baseline scenario according to the existing forest management practices, low-grade timber stock and the market climate for the local forest. The third phase will be a comparing the baseline in phase 2 with a shift towards managing the forest for more wood fuel. The results demonstrate the implications of: 1. Designing an appropriately sized district energy system 2. The economic analyses of different of supply chains available for biomass procurement 3. The changes in delivered cost biomass for the individual heating systems 4. The challenges and considerations that need to be made when establishing a supply chain. The results demonstrate a promising pathway to bioheat success, the impacts on the existing underutilized wood fibre market as well as an alternative fuel source for heat in Central Ontario.

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