British Columbia is the largest bioenergy-producing region in North America with capacity of 4,300 GWh/yr and north central BC’s bioenergy sector is positioned well for continued growth and development. The region offers a strong economic and investment climate in the forest sector, ongoing bioenergy technology innovation, existing commercial capacity, and growing forest sector business activity. The region is home to many businesses and organizations engaged in research, development, manufacturing, and engineering in a sector that is fueled by growing global demand for renewable energy.

Northern British Columbia has the largest availability of wood biomass in the country. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations estimates there are approximately 3.1 million cubic metres of potential forest tenure available for use as biomass for energy. This, in conjunction with a network of companies located throughout the region, with large capital investments in the forest and the emerging bioenergy industries and whose entrepreneurial activity is driving the development and implementation of new technologies, are assets to the overall positioning of BC as a global bioenergy leader.

To learn more about pursuing biomass energy opportunities and Technologies in British Columbia visit the following link:

BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Responsible for Housing

The British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Housing is the legislative body responsible for regulation of the bioenergy sector within the province and implementing the BC Bioenergy Strategy. The BC Bioenergy Strategy was designed to help British Columbia reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen its long-term competitiveness and electricity self-sufficiency. The strategy intends to turn the challenges of the mountain pine beetle infestation into new opportunities, and looks to future bioenergy technologies including wood pellets, cogeneration, and biocarbon to foster a sustainable competitive advantage. The BC Bioenergy Strategy directly supports the commitments made in the BC Energy Plan and is a key contributor to achieve our emission reduction goals.

The British Columbia Bioenergy Network

British Columbia has a number of organizations committed to positioning the province to take a leadership role in the advancement of next generation bioenergy on a global basis. Notably, the BC Bioenergy Network was established in 2008 with a $25 million grant from the provincial government, it is an industry-led initiative that is a catalyst for deploying near-term bioenergy technologies and supporting mission-driven research to build a world class bioenergy capability in British Columbia. The BC Bioenergy Network is committed to maximizing the value of BC’s biomass resources; developing mission-driven research development and demonstration projects; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; networking and partnering in BC, Canada, and internationally to advance BC’s bioenergy sector; and levering funding to support BC-focused bioenergy technology and applications.

Northern Bioenergy Partnership

The BC Bioenergy Network and the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition provided startup funding towards the Northern Bioenergy Partnership that is committed to positioning Northern British Columbia as a national leader in a technologically advanced, forest-based bioenergy industry, the Northern Bioenergy Partnership. The Northern Bioenergy Partnership is an industry-led coalition of businesses, academic institutions and government and First Nations organizations involved in the bioenergy industry in Northern British Columbia. The Northern Bioenergy Partnership’s strategic focus is to develop a bioenergy “center of excellence” for the Province of BC by driving the growth of the forest-based bioenergy sector. The success of Northern Bioenergy Partnership is measured by jobs, investment, and the region’s contribution to climate change objectives through the sustainable use of forest biomass.

Wood Pellets

Canada is one of the top producers of wood pellets in the world and British Columbia is the source of roughly two-thirds of national pellet production. Around the globe, most of the pellets produced are used domestically. This is not the case in British Columbia, as the principal market exports to power generation facilities in foreign countries.

Wood pellets are principally manufactured from wood waste (typically sawdust and shavings) residuals created in the production of lumber or other solid wood product processing, as well as from wood recovered from grinding and chipping of non-merchantable timber in forests. Pellets have several advantages over other fuel sources, including a consistency in size and shape that makes them easy to transport, and a lack of artificial or toxic ingredients that render them hazard-free to handle and eliminates the possibility of toxic spills. In addition, pellets are more efficient than other fuels and offer a net carbon reduction if they displace non-renewable fuels.

Producing pellets out of wood residue is a well-established industry in northern British Columbia. As of 2012, Canada had 42 pellet plants with 3 million tonnes annual production capacity. Of these pellet plants, a total of 9 are located in north central BC. In 2010, Canada's pellet plants operated at about 65% capacity - producing about 1.3 million tonnes per year, while in 2011 almost 1.9 million tonnes of pellet production was exported.

Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group

Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group, a private company founded by the Swaan family of Quesnel, has been in operation for over twenty years and is the longest established pellet producer in Western Canada. Located in the heart of the lumber industry in central B.C., Canada, Pinnacle has access to an excellent and abundant source of raw materials. Pinnacle produces a variety of products carrying our brand name: premium softwood pellet fuel and pine animal bedding pellets. Pinnacle also produces custom products for companies in uniquely branded packaging. A large portion of Pinnacle’s production is for the bulk domestic and overseas market.

Today, the company operates five pellet plants across BC with a production capacity of 1.04 million tonnes of wood pellets annually. All plants operate twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and are located in an arc centered on Prince George, with Burns Lake and Houston on the western arm and Meadowbank, Quesnel, Williams Lake and Armstrong going south through the Cariboo.

Fibre Supply

Fibre supply comes from a mixture of mill residuals, harvesting waste materials, and whole logs. Pinnacle Pellet Inc. currently produces over 500,000 metric tonnes per year of carbon-neutral quality wood fuel pellets.

Bulk Pellets

Photo Credit:  Alternative HeatMaking up approximately 90% of its sales, Pinnacle currently ships bulk product to customers throughout North America, Western Europe and Asia. Individual bulk shipments range in size from 40 tonne truckloads and 100 tonne rail hopper cars to 4,000 – 47,000 metric tonne per ship cargo holds. Pinnacle utilizes several BC port facilities including Fibreco Terminal and the Kinder Morgan Terminal in North Vancouver, and the Ridley Terminal in Prince Rupert.

Pacific BioEnergy Corporation

Pacific Bionenergy's Prince George plant produces 400,000 tonnes of wood pellet fuel per annum.

Pacific BioEnergy is a privately-held company that has positioned itself to be the leading integrated manufacturer and supplier of wood pellet biomass fuel in Canada.

Founded in early 1994, Pacific BioEnergy was among the first to pioneer wood pellet fuel manufacturing in Canada, and in 1998 successfully pioneered the bulk commercial overseas market for Canadian produced wood pellet fuel. Today, Pacific BioEnergy focuses on international bulk industrial energy sales.

Pacific BioEnergy has secured fibre supply through ownership of forest licenses and long term contracts, and is targeting production capacity of approximately 1,000,000 tonnes of wood pellet fuel per annum by 2013. Today the company produces up to 400,000 tonnes per year at its plant in Prince George, British Columbia.

Fibre Supply

The current Prince George pellet plant requires approximately 450,000 m3 of fibre per year, which is met via contracts for sawmill residuals, forest debris, and whole logs. The expanded plant at Prince George and both Greenfield projects will require approximately 800,000 m3 of fibre each year. The proposed Kitwanga plant’s fibre requirements will be supported by sawmill residuals from the Kitwanga sawmill, and whole logs. Pacific BioEnergy also holds a forestry license in the Kispiox Timber Supply Area that provides 88,000 m3 of cut rights on an annual basis. Finally, the proposed Nazko pellet plant will be supplied by the 750,000 m3 annual cutting rights from the recently acquired forest license in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area. 


Premium Pellet, Ltd.

Premium Pellet, Ltd. is a wood fibre pellet producer located in Vanderhoof. The plant opened in February 2001 and is wholly-owned and operated by L&M Lumber, Ltd., a Sinclair Group company. The company’s primary goal is to establish an international biomass energy producer providing a high quality value added product that will provide a competitive, environmentally-based energy source.

The plant produces 140,000 tonnes of pellets from white wood waste (sawdust, shavings and fines) with raw material from Nechako Lumber Ltd., L&M Lumber Ltd., and other sources in the region. The vast majority of pellets produced are sold in bulk to Holland and Sweden, but a small amount is packaged for the local home heating market.

At the time of its construction, Premium Pellet operated the largest pellet facility in the world. Premium quality wood pellets are available in 40lb bags, palletized in 1 tonne lots for retail distribution. Bulk quantities are also available in mini bulk bags (1 tonne), truckloads, rail car loads, or ship hold lots for offshore markets. The pellet mill is positioned on a major highway (Highway 16) and a major rail line (CN Rail) and has been designed for efficient operations, shipping, and handling.

Fibre Supply

L&M Lumber Ltd. And Nechako Lumber Co Ltd. Bring over twenty five years of wood forest industry experience, supplying Premium Pellet Ltd. With white wood waste necessary for the production of 140,000 tonnes per year of premium grade wood pellets.


Cogeneration is the process whereby a single fuel source, such as natural gas, is used to produce both electrical and thermal energy. An onsite cogeneration system is more efficient than a utility operated central power plant, since thermal energy that would otherwise be wasted is captured for use at the facility. The result is a much more efficient use of fuel which can generate substantial savings for the end user.

Canada has a large, well-developed forest sector and is one of the world’s largest exporters. The forest industry exported $41.9 billion in paper, pulp, lumber, board, and other forest products in 2005. The production of woody biomass is proportionate with production of forest goods. The pulp and paper sector is the largest industrial source of biomass cogeneration, accounting for 88%. This sector is able to meet 60% of its own energy demands through biomass cogeneration.

British Columbia is the largest bioenergy-producing region in North America, with a capacity of 4,300 GWh/year, and was the first province in Canada to announce a bioenergy strategy. The province’s pulp and paper sector is composed of 20 mills and currently employs 15,200 people in manufacturing. BC aims to reduce its electricity impact by setting a goal to become energy self-sufficient, with 90% of its power to come from clean sources.

Prince George recently experienced significant growth thanks to the Canadian Forest Products Ltd. development, the largest producer of bioenergy in North America. The 60 MW Canfor cogeneration project at Prince George Pulp effectively displaces 390 GWh of purchased electricity annually.  

Canfor Pulp, Ltd.

Canfor's North American facilities produce high-quality dimension lumber, structural panels and value-added finishing products. They are also leading producers of wood pellets and green energy. Canfor Corporation is a majority shareholder in Canfor Pulp, which owns and operates the Intercontinental Pulp Mill, the Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill, and the Northwood Pulp Mill in Prince George.

Canfor Pulp Products’ three mills have the annual capacity to produce over one million tonnes of northern softwood market kraft pulp, 90% of which is bleached to become NBSK pulp for sale to the market, and approximately 140,000 tonnes of kraft paper. The Intercontinental Pulp Mill has the capacity to produce 315,000 Mt of pulp per year and Northwood Pulp Mill can produce 590,000 metric tonnes (Mt) of pulp per year. The Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill can produce 150,000 Mt of pulp and 140,000 Mt of paper each year.

The benefits to Canfor and the environment as a result of this cogeneration project are significant. Natural gas usage was expected to drop by 500,000 GJ for a cost saving of $5 million per year. The displaced natural gas is being replaced with 200,000 BDt of hog fuel generated by Canfor sawmills within a 200 km radius of Prince George.


The limitation of biomass as a source of bioenergy is its low energy density which restricts its economic distribution. Thermochemical biorefining technology converts renewable biomass into an energy density similar to that of coal. Wood-based bioenergy had been revolutionized through the development of wood pellets. Biocarbon, produced from the same type of biomass as wood pellets, is the next generation energy pellet, having an energy density ~70% higher than a wood pellet. The biocarbon pellet has the following advantages over the traditional wood pellet (on an energy basis):

  • roughly 70% higher energy density 
  • lower fossil-fuel transportation costs 
  • lower fossil-fuel footprint 
  • smaller storage requirements
  • more versatile biomass input
  • any carbon containing material can be utilized
  • can utilize hog, slash, and other woody residues
  • does not produce ‘off-gases’ during storage or transportation
  • scalable and modular which allows for biomass sourcing not available to wood pellets

Alterna Biocarbon, Inc.

Photo Credit: Climate ActionAlterna Biocarbon manufactures biocarbon from products such as wood, municipal and agricultural waste, and tires. Biocarbon is considered carbon neutral when utilized to generate heat or electrical energy. Carbonized wood is more suited to industrial markets as a renewable replacement for coal. Atlerna Biocarbon builds, owns, and operates biocarbon facilities.

A new commercial demonstration project located in Prince George converts 110,000 tonnes of green wood residues annually into 25,000 tonnes of biocarbon. The process requires virtually no external energy inputs with high yields of 80% to 90% on a carbon basis.

Furthermore, Alterna Biocarbon’s “Van Aardt process” is a platform technology that transforms biomass feedstock into a variety of carbon-based energy products; this is a pyrolysis based system using Alterna’s patent-pending thermochemical biorefining design. The fundamental aspect of the technology is carbonization. Alterna Biocarbon’s Van Aardt process is the leading biocarbon technology. The technology has unmatched process economics and efficiencies, exemplified by high product yields, with very little external input energy, and a short cycle time.