Assessing community forest resources to determine potential for biomass district heating in one rural and one remote First Nation of Northwestern Ontario
Master of Science in Forestry
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
Biomass district heating
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this thesis is to explore the feasibility of using biomass in rural and remote First Nations for the purpose of supplying biomass district heating plants. The availability of forest resources, including the methods for determining biomass volumes and availability, and the policies which govern access to timber/biomass on Crown and reserve land will be assessed. The thesis is produced in conjunction with a pre-feasibility study conducted collaboratively between Confederation College and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON. It was found that sufficient forest resources exist to supply woody biomass to a biomass district heating plant (BDHP) in both the rural and remote communities, which can provide heat and hot water to community infrastructure and home dwellings in order to offset electrical use. It was found that there was variability between thermal potential, ash content and species present in the two communities. There was also variability between the wood properties values found in this study compared to the published values for the same species. Although there was a significant difference in species volume, annual growth per hectare and species composition at 95% probability, there was not a significant difference in wood properties. There was also a significant difference between the outcomes of using the Lakehead University Wood Science Testing Facility methods compared to Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Forest Resource Inventory methods related to species volume and composition reported by the different methods, while total volume was the same. This information is not intended to replace a proper forest management plan, but to provide information to communities so that informed decisions can be made. In fact, accessing the identified available biomass would require an amendment to the forest management plan and may require additional legislated documentation and an approval process or a fibre supply agreement with the forest tenure holder.