LETTER: Hemlock holds promise for biofuel

From reader Robert Macrae

Revelstoke is exploring innovative climate action. A 2017 report for the Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation says, when sold for pulp, hemlock lumber prices are below the cost of harvest. The report proposes gasifying hemlock into a biofuel: dimethylether (DME).

DME can be used in gas and diesel vehicles after minor engine modifications and as a propane substitute for home heating. Revelstoke spends $25 million on energy annually (home heating, gasoline, diesel, and electricity), but only $12 million stays in the community. Revelstoke grows enough hemlock for gasification to meet all of its annual energy needs with a surplus.

The surplus could be sold at a profit to pay for a DME plant. A gasification plant would create local jobs, keep more of the $25 million in energy sales in the community, and drop Revelstoke’s carbon footprint to nearly zero. It pays to leave fossil fuels in the ground.

Robert Macrae

Environmental technology instructor

Castlegar

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