Canfor Corporation (Canfor) has held back its plan to convert the propane heating system to a biomass thermal fired system at their Radium Hot Springs mill because of financial crisis. The $15 million project was approved prior to the economic meltdown but the comapny will still be considering the capital expenditure in the future. The mill uses enough propane annually to heat about 2,000 homes. The project would take 10 months to be complete.

Mackie said that the thermal system would be fired using wood waste residual products produced on site. He further continued that the system would serve specifically to generate heat to be used at the mill, not as a co-generating facility to put power back to the grid.

To decrease the amount of particulate produced by the system, the wood products would go through two combustion zones to achieve full burn on wood particulate. After burning at 1,000 degrees celsius, the gases produced are routed through a mechanical filter, then through an electrostatic particulator.

Radium Mill’s General Manager Stephen Mackie, said “No doubt, our industry is going through tremendous turmoil.

“The reason we consume so much propane is because we use it to dry lumber,” explained Mackie.

“After that gases are emitted to the atmosphere,” said Mackie, adding that it would produce 120 mg/cubic metre and that most wood stoves produce 1,000 mg/cubic metre. “You won’t see any emissions, there’s no visible smoke. Overall there’s a net positive impact in terms of carbon footprint.”

Mackie noted that the converted system would reduce the amount of truck traffic from the mill as well as greenhouse gas emissions.