The future of fuel

May 25, 2009
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May 25, 2009 - For almost every greenhouse grower in Canada, thoughts of alternative fuels has moved from “what if” to “when best.”

Natural gas prices have moderated quite a bit over the past year or so. But current pricing levels won’t last. It’s inevitable higher prices will return.

Among fuels drawing close scrutiny are wood pellets. Former <i>Canadian Biomass</i> editor – and now Greenhouse Canada publisher – Scott Jamieson described the strength and potential of the Canadian wood pellet sector in a feature in the debut edition of Canadian Biomass in August 2008. “Canada already has a strong pellet manufacturing sector, with plants across the nation producing some two million tonnes per year, and more on the way. Still, with strong incentives to use renewable energy overseas, the lion’s share of those pellets, even from the main manufacturing zone in the B.C. interior, are shipped all the way to Europe to be used.”

The European market now accounts for 50 to 60 per cent of Canada’s pellet production, while the U.S. purchases 30 to 40 per cent.

Wood pellets are about as environmentally friendly a fuel as you’ll find. They’re carbon neutral. Wood is a renewable resource. And Canada has deep resources. But if you’re far from logging facilities, the costs can be high.

Are you considering switching from gas or oil? And if you are (or already have), what is your alternative fuel of choice? Would you consider wood pellets? Should the Government of Canada subsidize alternative fuels?

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