Canadian Forest Service Publications
The potential of forest biomass as an energy supply for Canada. 2011. Paré, D.; Bernier, P.Y.; Thiffault, E.; Titus, B.D. The Forestry Chronicle 87(1): 71-76.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 32136
Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)
There is a growing interest in using forest biomass as an energy source. The main objectives of this paper are to give some figures and perspectives on Canadian forest biomass supply with respect to Canada’s energy demand and to examine the potential of using this feedstock for reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Published estimates of forest biomass supply as harvest residues are reported and discussed. The range of estimates listed here indicates that this source of energy is important but that it is still a fraction of our energy demands. The potential of using this biomass to reduce our GHG emissions is strongly dependent, among other factors, on the technological pathways that are used, with direct heat production and combined heat and power (CHP) ranking amongst the best options available. The relative scarcity of the resource behooves us to use it efficiently.
Plain Language Summary
Forestry operation residues are the largest source of biomass that is easily accessible for energy production, but the volume that is available is lower than the theoretical potential as a result of ecological, operational and economic constraints.
Bioenergy represents approximately 5% of primary energy consumption in Canada. Even when all roundwood production in Canada is added, forests are still providing only 18% of total Canadian consumption. The potential contribution of forest bioenergy in meeting Canadian energy needs is still too optimistic, since a unit of energy contained in wood does not equal a unit of energy consumption.
The potential reduction in GHG emissions as a result of using biomass depends on the technology used. The largest reductions would be obtained by using biomass as a source of heat or cogeneration. Community projects near supply sources would also promote an optimal use of the resource.
Also available under the title:
Le potentiel de la biomasse forestière comme source d’énergie pour le Canada. (French)