Local Sawmill To Provide Fuel to UNBC Bioenergy Facility


May 14, 2010
A family-owned sawmill in Prince George will be providing mill residues to UNBC to fuel a bioenergy facility that will be unique in Canada. The five-year contract is worth about $1.7 million.

Lakeland Mills will be supplying bark and sawdust starting later this year to fuel a biomass gasification system at the Prince George campus that is currently being installed by Nexterra Systems Corp. of Vancouver. When operating, it’s expected that the system will reduce UNBC’s reliance on fossil fuels by 85% and give the University the smallest carbon footprint of any university core campus in Canada.

“This is an exciting announcement for UNBC and for the community as we all work together to make this region a national centre of excellence in a technologically advanced, forest-based bioenergy industry.” says UNBC President George Iwama. “Awarding this contract to a local company helps us to build our local capacity in this industry, while keeping the carbon footprint of our bioenergy program – and the campus – to a minimum.”


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The wood fibre that will flow to the bioenergy facility at UNBC will come from the sawmill that is the closest to the Prince George campus and will be transported by Excel Transportation of Prince George. In addition, the Lakeland sawmill uses trees that mostly originate from an area within a 70km radius of Prince George. Currently, trees killed by the mountain pine beetle account for about three-quarters of the mill’s intake. Lakeland is one of the operations in the Sinclar Group, which also controls wood processing facilities in Vanderhoof and Fort St. James.

"Sinclar Group Forest Products, through its Lakeland Mills operation, is excited to be working with UNBC to supply hog fuel for the Nexterra gasification system,” says Greg Stewart, Sinclar President. “We have been operating in Prince George since 1962 and remain committed to promoting community development. Sinclar Group is proud to support the university in furthering its position as Canada's Green University while establishing Northern British Columbia as a bioenergy centre of excellence."

Construction of the $15 million bioenergy facility at the Prince George campus is being undertaken by IDL Projects of Prince George. Funding has been provided by the Governments of BC and Canada through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, the Innovative Clean Energy fund, and the BC Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement.

The Nexterra biomass gasification system represents phase two of the University’s bioenergy program and follows installation of a wood pellet facility at the I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Laboratory. The wood pellet system has been in operation for almost one year and has been supported by the Government of Canada and the Wood Pellet Association of Canada.

“There is a tremendous opportunity to use our bioenergy program as a platform for applied research and education,” adds Dr. Iwama. “In fact, we are hosting public tours of our bioenergy projects tomorrow to give local residents some insight into the special opportunities we have in this community to be at the forefront of renewable energy. This is a unique time on the construction site to view the gasification equipment and how the system is going to work. It’s a view that won’t exist when the walls are put up and the system is operating.”

The public tours will be offered on Saturday, May 15 between 11am and 1pm. Visitors can park in Lot C on campus and proceed to the Enhanced Forestry Lab, from where the tours will begin.
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Bioenergy Public Tour Map
Bioenergy Public Tour Map

Bioenergy Announcement
MLA Shirley Bond speaks in front of UNBC president George, Iwama, MLA Pat Bell, and Greg Stewart, President of the Sinclar Group, the parent company of Lakeland Mills
Bioenergy Announcement
UNBC President George Iwama speaks in front of the gasifier (right) and the electrostatic precipitator, which filters emissions

Bioenergy Announcement
UNBC Capital Project Manager Doug Carter leads a tour of the facility, which is still under construction

Bioenergy Announcement
The site is located to the west of the Prince George campus
Architectural Drawings
Project Profile


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Media Contact:
Robert van Adrichem, Vice President External Relations, UNBC - 250.960.5724

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