Bioenergy Conference Now Bioeconomy Conference
Prince George, B.C. – Next June, delegates from around the world will be coming to Prince George to talk bio-mass, and will do so under a new banner.
What has been known as the Bioenergy conference, is now, the Bioeconomy conference.
The change reflects the growth in the biomass industry says Conference Board Chair Jim Martin “There’s a greater variety of opportunities and products that are out there in using renewable energy in things like biomass, which is not just wood based anymore.”
Once, biomass referred primarily of the wood waste used to produce pellets , but Martin says there are other carbon based materials that are being used, or studied, for a variety of things. Take Canfor for instance. It is working on a project that hopes to make a fuel out of wood waste. “anything that grows can be used as a fuel source down the road” says Martin” and we want to reflect that there are many other opportunities we need to showcase to get people thinking about what opportunities there are.”
The Province of Ontario has just announced a special fund of nearly $26 million dollars to promote the development of green technologies. The fund is similar to what has been offered in B.C. for some time says Matin, “For the past number of years the B,.C. bioenergy network has been a co-sponsor of our event and a partner. They are an agency of (BC) government that is tasked with the whole bioenergy industry in finding innovation and getting things actionable and getting bioenergy as a renewable energy source.”
It was 13 years ago that the first Bioenergy conference was held in Prince George, and it has been held in P.G. on a bi-annual basis ever since. Having Prince George as the home to this conference is pretty much a no brainer. The community has it’s own district energy system fuelled by biomass, the University of Northern B.C. also uses bio energy and the community is home to pellet plants.
The core of the conference will still be the same says Martin “What’s important to recognize is that we are really fossil fuel based, and there are so many more opportunities, and that is what we try to do with our conference, bring people together, share their ideas, have those who are on leading edge of new technology or different ideas, test them against the group and see innovation grow from there.”
But when it comes to wood waste, there are challenges ahead in B.C. The annual allowable cut has been reduced and the wildfires of this summer have already burned 53 million cubic meters of timber. Martin says a benefit of the conference is the ability to bring together experts in their field to talk about the different challenges, identify opportunities and look at how sustainable those opportunities may, or may not, be.
The conference is set to run from June 6th to 8th next year.