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Wood pellet production facility to take root in Smithers

Chrissie O'Brien
Wood pellet production facility to take root in Smithers

The partnership of Pinnacle Renewable Holdings Inc. and West Fraser Timber recently announced a plan to begin the redevelopment of an existing particle board facility in Smithers, B.C. for a wood pellet production facility.

The plant will have an annual production capacity of 125,000 metric tons and is connected via a direct rail link to Pinnacle’s Westview Port Terminal.

The wood pellet process converts sawmill materials that would otherwise go to waste into a clean, renewable, carbon-neutral solid biofuel, explains a release.

These materials can include residues, sawdust, planer shavings and bark, along with unusable trees and logging waste that sawmills leave behind.

“This project will contribute to the economic vitality and job growth of Smithers and other local communities,” said Robert McCurdy, chief executive officer of Pinnacle, in a release. “We are committed to the numerous communities throughout the Western Canadian fibre basket in which we operate, and we plan to continue to look for similar projects to support our future growth.”

The wood pellet production industry is booming and has grown consistently, according to the Wood Pellet Association of Canada.

“The market has grown by up to two million tonnes per year on a worldwide basis,” said John Arsenault, the director of wood pellets, market access and promotion at the association.

“Pinnacle is our largest producer in Canada and has extensive technical support and experience that allows them to do this. We have seen conversion projects that are not as successful because they lack the depth of technology that Pinnacle has.

They have extensive experience building plants they can guarantee.”

Wood pellet production is expected to commence at the Smithers facility by the third quarter of 2018.

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