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FPInnovations will study the potential use of biodiesel for off-road machinery

FPInnovations, in partnership with Natural Resources Canada's National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiati...


March 24, 2010
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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FPInnovations, in partnership with Natural Resources Canada’s National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative, is conducting a $1.7 million field-study on the potential use of biodiesel for off-road machinery in highway construction and forest operations. This study’s purpose is to gain better understanding of the economical and technical issues related to renewable diesel, as well as identify the best means and methods required to overcome likely challenges to biodiesel implementation in Canadian operations.
Through the National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative (NRDDI), Natural Resources Canada is funding this study in the amount of $810,000, the forest industry and FPInnovations are providing the balance.
The study involves three project locations and industrial activities in British Columbia : highway construction in Coquitlam, sawmill yard operation in Prince George, and forest harvest operations in Meritt.
The Prince George location is ideal for this project as it highlights the main challenges facing biodiesel users. These include challenging climate conditions for heavy equipment operations, cold temperatures and a remote location in which distribution and storage can be difficult. The Coquitlam location is of interest for the construction sector because it will demonstrate the logistical challenges in delivering biodiesel blends to their jobsites.
The logging and sawmill operations consume an average of 60,000 litres of fuel each month, the equivalent of a tanker truck. Therefore, several deliveries are anticipated this year. Fuel is delivered from the bulk terminal in Vancouver and transferred into a stationary above ground storage tank at the mill as well as two or three above-ground storage tanks at the logging site. It is then transferred to portable tanks located in the back of pickup trucks (approx. capacity 500 litres), which in turn, deliver fuel to the machinery in the woods.
Peter Lister, vice-president for FPInnovations states: “The importance of this study lies in demonstrating the operational and economic practicalities of using various blends of biodiesels (up to 10%) by off-road heavy equipment, for both Canadian operations and for construction equipment, since the forest industry builds more roads in Canada than all combined governments.”
Employees involved in this project will make use of an electronic datalogger — the MultiDat — developed specifically for use in off-road equipment by FPInnovations researchers, which will be used to collect information that can help improve the productivity of operations or the utilization of equipment.
FPInnovations activities are focused on R&D and technology implementation. Therefore, this project also includes a vast technology transfer campaign across the country for heavy equipment owners and operators. A series of workshops will be implemented to inform potential users of challenges and best practices associated with biodiesel.
FPInnovations is a not-for-profit forest products research institute which performs research, technical services and technology transfer activities relating to wood harvesting, wood products, pulp and paper, nanotechnology and bio-energy and chemical production.


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