Canadian Forest Service Publications
Greenhouse gas mitigation potential of replacing diesel fuel with wood-based bioenergy in an arctic Indigenous community: A pilot study in Fort McPherson, Canada. 2022. Buss, J.; Mansuy, N.; Laganière, J.; Persson, D. Biomass and Bioenergy 159(2022):106367.
Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 40731
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Remote and northern communities surrounded by forested areas are well positioned to use wood-based bioenergy to meet their energy needs and thereby reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However major gaps remain regarding the GHG mitigation potential considering the challenges along the biomass supply chain. Using Fort McPherson, an Indigenous community located in the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada, we developed a life cycle assessment based model to estimate the potential GHG emission reductions and timing. We also built two main bioenergy scenarios testing 1) wood chips made from locally harvested willow or 2) imported pellets made from sawmill residues including key parameters like transport distances, boiler efficiency, and emission factors. We found that replacing diesel fuel with bioenergy resulted in GHG savings as high as 32,166 t of CO2 eq over 100 years. GHG benefits can be achieved within 0–20 years for local wood chips or 2–37 years for imported sawmill residue pellets. Increases in transport distance and decreases in biomass boiler efficiency resulted in delays in GHG emissions benefits for both local chips and imported pellets. This study shows that the use of local or imported forest biomass to replace diesel in remote northern communities’ energy systems can generate GHG savings within a time-frame that is relevant to current climate change concerns. In addition to GHG mitigation potential, we discuss the socio-economic and environmental factors to take into consideration at the community level when deciding between local or imported biomass supply chains.