FAQ

Frequently asked questions & answers.

Engagement

Hazelton BioEnergy Ltd. (HBE) is a project formulated by Gitxsan Development Corporation and Airex Energy Inc. of Quebec. Airex Energy Inc. has proprietary torrefaction technology and has partnered with GDC and GFI to build their commercial scale plant on the West Coast. GDC and AIrex Energy Inc. will maintain ownership stakes in HBE and other Wilps, businesses, and individuals will as well. There is still an opportunity for investment in this project. If interested, please contact info@hazeltonbioenergy.com.


Do torrefied pellets burn longer than standard wood pellets? Have First Nations been consulted?

Gitxsan Development Corporation (GDC) and its subsidiaries serve to create profitable, sustainable economic development that leads to job creation and training opportunities, ultimately creating economic resilience for the Gitxsan people. Award winning Gitxsan Development Corporation (GDC) is the economic vehicle through which the Gitxsan people will exercise their rights affirmed in the landmark Delgamuukw Supreme Court Judgment (1997) on their 33,000sq km traditional territory. It is the holding company for Gitxsan enterprise and is governed by a board of directors appointed by the Trustees of the Gitxsan Lipgyet Trust. The Directors manage GDC and oversee each of its operating subsidiaries. GDC focuses on improving the Gitxsan economy while following the community’s values.

This economic development project aligns with the mission of the Gitxsan group of companies and has the support of Board of Directors.

As GDC is a community owned business, we have made the choice to keep the community informed and engaged in the development of this project. To start the community engagement two community engagement sessions were held September 11 in Kitwanga and 12 in Hazelton. This was an opportunity for initial engagement with all people of the communities. From these initial public engagements, many questions were received. Some of which we have answered and some that will be answered as more information becomes available. We are planning to hold additional public engagement sessions.

Project staff are also meeting with various groups, communities, wilps, watersheds, government officials, and districts throughout the course of this project.

We have received questions on consultation with First Nations for this project. The duty to consult rests with the crown and we will be supportive of this process.

Gitxsan group of businesses do not interfere with Wilp activities.

How were people notified about the community engagement sessions?

GDC staff used multiple avenues to ensure the public was aware of the upcoming engagement sessions. Ads were put out in newspapers such as the Bulkley Browser, British Columbia Gazette and the Interior News. In addition, invitations were posted in all band offices as well as throughout the Hazelton area and surrounding communities. Invitations were also posted on the Gitxsan Development Corporation facebook page and shared by members of the community on their personal pages. Lastly, many individuals including all the hereditary Chiefs, organizations, districts, and dignitaries were personally invited either through email or word of mouth.  For this activity, there were in excess of 800 invitations sent out.

How does this project qualify to be classified as “green”?

The use of biomass to produce energy is considered carbon neutral. In our case the wood pellets are used to displace coal.

Fibre Supply

Where will the fibre supply for the plant come from?

HBE, through its affiliation with Gitxsan Forests Inc. has conducted a number of thorough fibre studies in addition to developing relationships with local sawmills to acquire their waste product.  Any and all local sawmills will have the opportunity to provide their waste fibre for use in the HBE operation.

What wood type and quality will you be using, whole logs, hog fuel

Sawdust, wood chips, whole logs, hog fuel.

 

Where will the whole logs come from?

We are open to accepting whole logs from anywhere and anyone who would like to provide such.

Will roads need to be re-commissioned or built to access logging areas?

Hazelton BioEnergy Ltd. is not responsible for the retrieval of whole logs for this project. Rather, will just be purchasing from providers. Therefore, we are unaware of what recommissioning or rebuilding requirements will be needed as that duty relies with the forestry companies retrieving the logs.

We have piles of rotting aspen in our area. Are those usable for making pellets?

Any types of woody biomass has been usable for making pellets.

What is hog fuel and do you see using this as a source of energy to run the plant?

Hog fuel comes from the debarking process. It is the bark and a small portion of the clean wood attached to the bark. Hog fuel is usually burned in biomass boilers to supply the heat for drying the wood fiber. Hog fuel can also be used in small proportions as a feedstock material to make the torrefied wood pellets.

Does GDC have a forest tenure timber license? If yes, who are the equity partners? On whose land and whose traditional territory? Have Gitxsan, Babine and Wet’suwet’en. Tahltan and Tsimshian First Nations been adequately informed and consulted?

HBE will not harvest wood directly. HBE will work with surrounding mills, licensees, harvesters, and other forestry contractors to utilize waste from their operations.

Currently, the timber supply is under review in the Kispiox. If the annual allowable cut is reduced, where will the wood fibre come from for the proposed project?

Fibre will come from surrounding mills and forestry residuals.

If the wood comes from logging slash and waste wood, how will transportation costs from the bush to the pellet plant site affect profitability, long term sustainability and emissions/noise pollution, highway wear and tear from constant truck traffic?

Feasibility of transporting of forestry residuals from a cut block to a processing site is a common question. There are many variables when identifying the feasibility such as distance to the plant, log harvesting practices and collaboration with harvesting contractor and the license holder. GDC has worked with its partners to assess this feasibility.

“The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development sets limits for the amount of allowable waste during timber harvesting, as well as requirements for measurement, reporting and how much companies are billed for the waste they leave behind. These limits are called waste benchmarks.” The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Coast Forest Sector Revitalization. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/forestry/coast-forest-sector-revitalization/coast_forest_sector_revitalization_web.pdf

Forestry in BC is a declining industry. Mills are closing and many forestry businesses are shutting down. To re-invigorate the industry we need to create revenue from the leftover fibre or the non-merchantable timber. The question to GFI is not whether it is feasible to bring the fibre in but what happens if we do not.

Technology

Black Pellets

Do torrefied pellets burn longer than standard wood pellets?

Torrefied pellets can burn hotter and longer than white wood pellets, it all depends on how the combustion system is set-up.  It should be noted that we are not burning any pellets at the plant.

Will a pellet burn if lit with a match or lighter?

To put it short, no. Torrefied pellets require high levels of heat and pressure to combust. The heat from a lighter will not be enough to ignite a pellet.

Carbon FX Process

How does the system work?

To learn how the torrefaction process works and system specifications please visit Airex’s website at: http://www.airex-energy.com/en/technology

What happens to the ash/slag/residue left after the torrefaction process?
What chemicals are used in production?

Typical consumables such as grease are used during the pelleting process to lubricate the bearings of the pellet mills.

A binder may be added to the torrefied wood before the pelleting process. This binder is used in a very low quantity (< 0.5% of the pellet weight) and if used, will be customer dependant.  Binder is applied during the finishing process to promote improved structure of the pellet. It is not emitted from the plant.

What is the chemical make-up of the residue? How is it disposed of? How much is produced?

There are no residues.

What is the drying system?

The drying of the biomass is performed by a flash dryer (pneumatic conveying of the ground biomass in direct contact with heated air).  The fuel for this drying process will be hog fuel.

What type and quality of filter systems will be used at the plant?

The plant will use a cyclo-filter (cyclones and dust collector in one system). These systems are meeting the most stringent regulations on particle dust emission limits throughout North America.

What will be the source of energy for the torrefaction process? Is it woody debris, off-gassed compounds, hemicelluloses, some of the pellets produced, or natural gas?

The source of the energy for the torrefaction process comes from the biomass being torrefied. During the torrefaction process the biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen and produces VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that we call syngas. The syngas’ are burned in a combustion chamber to provide the energy for the torrefaction process to take place. Natural gas or propane is needed to preheat the torrefaction system at startups and to keep a pilot flame (CSA regulations) on the burner of the combustion chamber. During normal operations, only a small amount of natural/propane is needed to maintain the pilot flame.

 

What are the chemical properties of bio-coal pellets and its by-products?

Please refer to ISO-TS 17225-8 for pellet properties. There is no by-products from the process.

Project Plan

What is the timeline for the plant?

The timeline for the HBE plant is that final investment decision will be made by the end of 2019. If approved, construction will commence Q1 2020 and full plant operation will commence Q2 2021.

Will the pellets be distributed locally/domestically or exported internationally?

The plant will distribute both white wood pellets and torrefied black pellets both internationally and domestically. Locally, the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre, Gitanmaax Gas Bar, Gitksan Wet’suwet’en Education Society, and other buildings/homes that need pellets for their boiler systems. With the increasing pressure on the price of white pellets as demand internationally Internationally, the initial target market for torrefied black pellets is Japan.

Why run an industrial plant 24-7, 365 days. Rather rest 1 or 2 days for sanity sake in this semi-rural residential area?

Economics and process conditions usually dictates how a plant should be operated. Shutdowns and startups of thermal processes are usually a cause of premature wear on the equipment and they are costly.

How can we become vendors?

HBE will be accepting expressions of interest once a Final Investment Decision (FID) has been made.  A formal public announcement seeking expressions of interest will be made shortly after FID.

Do torrefied pellets have a long term market and will the receiving power plants be able to run on this fuel?

Power plants in Europe and Japan have been using standard wood pellets for many years. Torrefied wood pellets are a better alternative for power plants.

 

Does torrefaction technology work at the scale proposed?

Yes.

The report by SNC Lavalin is based on use of natural gas, which is not available in South Hazelton. If electricity is used, what are the implications for costs, surcharges to local residents, surges, outages, and damage to existing infrastructure, or will the South Hazelton system need to be upgraded at taxpayer expense? We could request automatic backup diesel or propane generators in case of power failures, for plant safety, but that will not help the affected residents.

Assessing the electrical power availability is one of the first steps of any industrial project. According to BC Power, there is power available to support the plant operations. There is no implication of costs for the residents. Usually an industrial plant will have to curtail its production when the electrical grid is overloaded. A backup generator is needed in case of a power outage.

Project Site

Why is this proposed project in a residential area with a high population of children, families and elders?

The proposed project is on a site zoned M5 Heavy Industrial.

Why not have the plant on the old Carnaby site, away from homes?

Neither Gitxsan Development Corporation nor Gitxsan Forests Inc. own Carnaby. The proposed site in South Hazelton is owned by Gitxsan Forests Inc. and is zoned industrial and was purchased by Gitxsan Forests Inc specifically for an industrial development.

 

Does the band own the land/commercial complex?

There is no band ownership of the proposed site in South Hazelton.

 

A sawmill once occupied this site. What are the soil conditions and effects of disturbed contaminants during construction and operation?

On a need basis the site will be assessed and mitigated.  The proposed location had no buildings on it nor were there any contaminants found.

 

Transportation

Can owner/operators provide trucks for transport of pellets to and from destinations?

In a project of this magnitude, transportation will be key to the success of our operations. Therefore, HBE is looking for owner/operators to assist in the transportation of fibre, pellets, and logs to and from the site. Please contact andrew.jones@gitxsanbusiness.com for more information. 

Which ports will HBE be shipping out of?

Although a single port has not been established for the distribution of pellets, we are investigating a number of ports including Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert, Stewart WorldPort in Stewart, and Amix Group Terminals in Prince Rupert.

 

 

How many trucks can someone put into the transportation opportunity?

Currently, HBE has no cap on how many trucks can be put in for use. That said, we do plan to have a percentage of trucks that will be supplied in-house and therefore there will be an eventual limit on the number of trucks supplied by outside sources on a owner/operator basis.

 

 

Is there a need for logs to be hauled to the site?

Yes, there is a need for logs to be hauled on site. Although the need may be relatively small in comparison to fibre hauling, HBE has had a number of community members inquire as to whether or not HBE would be accepting fibre from local operators in the form of either logs or chips.  In response, HBE will be accepting fibre from all sources that are economically feasible.

 

 

Where will trucks enter the site?

Trucks will enter the site off of Aldous Street at the south access point of the site.  Developing this new south access point will minimize the exposure of the community to the truck traffic in and out of the commercial complex.  This access point has not been completed at this time.

What is the anticipated truck traffic to Stewart or Prince Rupert for exports and how will that affect profitability, traffic, noise, emissions, and highway maintenance costs borne by the taxpayer?

The plant will have a production of 100,000T per annum. Each truck will carry approximately 40Ts. There will be approximately 2500 truck loads of finished torrefied pellet product shipped to the coast per annum.   Costs for transportation, corporate and property taxes are built into the economics of the project.

Has MOTI done site-specific studies to ensure safety of access for this high volume of truck traffic?

MOTI has yet to have done site-specific analysis of truck traffic and infrastructure as final investment decision has yet to be made. Further analysis will be completed based off the outcome of final investment decision. 

What stipulations will be put in place regarding the times of day that trucks will arrive and safety monitoring/procedures in place?

It is expected that trucks will be regularly entering and exiting the site bringing fibre in for production and torrefied pellets out for delivery. Ministry of Transport standards of safety and procedures will be applied to transportation activities.

Operations

Does it shut down at night every night or is this a 24 hour running plant?

It is a 24 hour running plant 7 days a week.

 

How and where will the pellets be stored?

Pellets will be stored in silos and or in a fabric structure.

 

How long will such a plant last before requiring prohibitively expensive maintenance and repairs?

The pellet plant is designed with a scheduled, coordinated and well funded maintenance plan.  As we are seeking long-term off-take agreements, the plant has been designed with a perpetual life cycle in mind.  Replacement of key components for the long-term has been incorporated in the plant life cycle.

 

Safety

What are the safety operations of the plant?

Employees will undergo safety orientation and receive regular training on safety programs/procedures developed. Several safety procedures have already been developed for the safe operations of the demonstration plant. These procedures include: lock-out/tag-out, emergency action plan, confined space entry, aerial work, personal protective equipment, etc. A hazard and operability study (HAZOP) will be performed during the plant engineering phase. A HAZOP is a structured and systematic examination of a complex planned or existing process or operation to identify and evaluate problems that may represent risks to personnel or equipment. The intention of performing a HAZOP is to review the design to pick up design and engineering issues that may otherwise not have been found.

An abbreviated list of safety systems that will be installed at the plant is found following.  It is only a sample and not meant to be an exhaustive list:

    1. Fire pond with fire pump
    2. Fire deluge system
    3. Buildings/storage bins/silos fitted with sprinklers
    4. Explosion vents on equipment (bins, dust collector, others)
    5. Spark detection/suppression systems at critical locations
    6. Magnets at critical locations (to prevent tramp metals from damaging equipment and/or creating sparks)
    7. Motion detectors on conveyors
    8. Cameras/recorders
    9. Most equipment are sealed and under negative pressure to prevent fugitive dust emissions
Many pellet plants, including the new one in Terrace, have had fires and explosions. South Hazelton has an old fire hall but no volunteer fire department. The closest fire department is New Hazelton. Are agreements and emergency plans in place for this plant?

No agreement and emergency plans are in place at the moment but they will be developed before the start of the plant operations.

 

 

Will state of the art safety procedures be used for all processes from truck traffic to dust collection in the plant so that workers, wildlife, residents and other users of the surrounding areas will receive exceptional protections from potential harm from emissions inside and outside of the plant?

Yes, we will follow all safety regulations.

 

 

Distribution/Market

Is there any domestic use or availability of the fuel?

Yes, pellets can and will be used domestically.

 

Where is the market for torrefied wood pellets? How stable, competitive and cost-sensitive is the demand?

The market for torrefied pellet exists domestically and internationally.

One of a number of market analysis’ was completed by FutureMetrics regarding industrial wood pellets in Japan, market drivers, and potential demand. Details can be found at: 

http://www.futuremetrics.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Japan%20Markets%20-%20William%20Strauss%20-%20FutureMetrics%20-%20USIPA%202016.pdf

Noise

Will the plant make noise?

Yes, like any industrial process there will be noise coming from fixed and mobile equipment. The biggest noise emitting equipment will be installed inside building(s). The equipment installed outside of the plant will mainly consist of cyclo-filters and conveyors. The cyclo-filters will be equipped with mufflers on their stack to reduce the noise. The plant will be configured to have vegetation (tree line) between the plant and the main road. 

Whole Log Chipping

Will whole log chipping be part of operations at HBE?

Whole log chipping will be a portion of operations at HBE. The majority of fibre will come already chipped or in the form of sawdust from neighbouring sawmills in the region. For those smaller community operators who would like to provide fibre to the plant, HBE will provide the necessary whole log chipping functionality. 

Where on site will the chipper be located?

At this point in the engineering process for the plant, the exact location of specific equipment has not been determined.  Once the detailed engineering of the site operations is completed, the plan will be shared on our site.

What noise level (in decibels) would we expect from the whole log chipper/grinder that is stated on the HBE site to be part of operations?

A whole log chipper has not been sourced yet. Therefore, we do not have an answer for this question currently.

Air

Air Discharge Waste Permit Process

Where can I find postings of the environmental protection notice?

The environmental protection notice was posted in the Bulkley Browser, British Columbia Gazette, and Interior News. In addition, the protection notice was posted at the Gitxsan Chiefs Office and the Hazelton Public Library. In addition, we have added the notice to our website so feel free to find out more information at http://hazeltonbioenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/HBE.EnvironmentalProtectionNotice.pdf

 

If HBE will be the company operating the pellet plant, who is applying for the Air Discharge Permit?

Gitxsan Forests Inc (GFI) applied for the Air Discharge Waste Permit as GFI is the owner of the proposed site.

 

What are the reasons this project has not undergone an Environmental Assessment?

The project is undergoing the required Environmental Assessments.

 

Apparently, community members have 30 days to provide comment on the air quality/impacts/issues? When was the start date and when is the deadline?

The official publication date of the environmental protection notice is September 12, 2019. Although the 30 day comment period has commenced, HBE will continue to receive and respond to any and all questions well after this period has lapsed.

Fine particulate matter emissions are a concern with this particular project. They are invisible to the human eye, and can cause irreversible and permanent lung and cardiovascular damage and death. What is the protocol if fine particulate matter emissions exceed maximum levels? For example, if we request only that the plant shuts down when the monitored air quality is at or above 25 ppm for PM2.5, other factors affect pollution, i.e. PM10 (larger particulates), wind flow, terrain, seasons.

The Ministry of Environment is required to monitoring particulate matter. The process we are working through includes the assessment of expected emissions and the application for a Permit. For Permit to be issued the Ministry of Environment experts will review all emission data and recommend best practices to maintain air quality standards. When the Permit is issued the Ministry of Environment experts dictate the conditions of the permit.

If emission conditions go above an acceptable level, what will be the adaptive monitoring benchmarks for shutdown until conditions improve? Will the stacks that are emitting be monitored by the government throughout the life cycle of the project?

The project is not expected to go above the Ministry of Environment’s emissions standards. When the Permit is issued the Ministry of Environment experts dictate the conditions of the permit which generally include both monitoring and reporting requirements.

Model Questions

The SNC report also says that emission rates of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) “are shown to be very low and for this reason are not speciated to individual compounds.” Although very low, what are the identified VOC’s and how hazardous are they even at low concentrations?

There is a demonstration plant for the technology in Becancour, Quebec. Emissions tests were done on this plant to establish what the emission rates of particulate would be. At the same time, the exhaust gases were measured for hazardous air pollutants or HAPs. This test evaluates the concentration of individual HAPs in a collected volume of gas. Approximately 30 HAP species were tested with three different samples of collected gas and their concentrations were very low, with a total average HAP concentration of less than 56.4 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre). The results of these tests were shared with the BC Ministry to support the statement that the HAP emissions are not released at high enough levels to warrant a concern.

To determine whether a specific HAP could be a concern there are ambient objectives for the ones known to have adverse human or environmental effects. For example napthalene has an ambient objective of 22.5 ug/m3 for a 24-hour average in Ontario. The emissions tests identified an average naphthalene emission concentration in the dryer exhaust of 0.131 ug/m3. This is so much lower than the ambient objective that there is no possibility for the objective to be exceeded. This logic is applied with the test results to see if there is potential for exceedance of an air quality objective held in any jurisdiction. The outcome of this review is that there is no potential that these emission rates could lead to an exceedance of any HAP objectives.

Will modeling be updated with more met station/PM measures?

The dispersion modelling has been completed according to the Ministry’s guidelines. At this time there is no requirement to update the dispersion modelling in the future; however, the actual permit conditions for the pellet plan have not yet been confirmed by the Ministry.

Why is it acceptable to use a generic template for pellet plants instead of site-specific data?

The airshed model is site specific.

How is the air assessment report site-specific?

GFI installed a meteorological station in January 2019 to provide site specific data that would verify the modelled data. GFI installed this station to support the veracity of the historical data available. This was not a requirement of the Ministry of Environment for the modelling.

I noticed that the SNC Lavalin air quality assessment relies on “air quality simulations”. In other words, it uses modelled data. Is there any real data sets from some pellet plants that have been operating for a while, as in Smithers, Houston, Burns Lake, or elsewhere in BC or North America?

You are correct that the air quality assessment relies on “air quality simulations” and although there are many white pellet plants throughout Canada, these plants are not relevant to our operations and would not provide a satisfactory basis for air quality assessment.  The only plant that we can rely upon is the 15,000 tonne plant in Béconcour, Quebec.

Are there other torrefied pellet plants in the world (ones that are not small pilot projects but a fully functioning plant) we could use as a potential data source?

Torrefied pellets are a new technology and therefore, there is not a full scale plant comparable to the size that HBE’s plant will be. That said, AIrex Energy Inc. operates an industrial scale plant in Quebec, Canada that can produce up to 15,000 tonnes of pellets annually. This full scale plant has been the measuring stick for our studies thus far and has been in operation for almost four (4) years now.

What is the timeframe of this assessment and from where was the air quality data obtained?

Airshed modelling utilized all existing sources of data.

How does the report consider air currents distributing pollution to the region and settling in local inversions? By SNC Lavalin figures, PM2.5 levels are exceeded. The report absolves SNC Lavalin of any liability and does not address or examine any other environmental, social, safety, or economic issues. No other reports have been required or prepared.

The SNC Lavalin report indicates a possible exceedance of PM2.5 on the proposed project site only. There are no exceedances off-site. It is also important to note that the airshed model is based on the worst case scenario.

What considerations have been made of precipitation to reduce particulate matter emissions?

The dispersion modelling is very conservative as it is meant to predict the worst possible outcomes (emissions at their highest theoretical amount and meteorology at the worst case). For this reason the effect of precipitation, which does reduce the off site PM concentrations, was not included in the model. It is reasonable to assume that PM concentrations during days with precipitation will be lower than what the model predicts. Similarly, it is anticipated that precipitation will also reduce the actual average annual PM concentrations, below what is predicted by the model.

What is the percentage of PM2.5 particulate matter emitted per ton? Per day? Per annum? What is the existing baseline of meteorological data and how does this increased load affect the air quality of South Hazelton and surrounding communities, in addition to current traffic, woodstoves, and industry?

Full Air Shed Model report is available at http://hazeltonbioenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/HBE.AirQualityAssessment.pdf

Baseline and particulate matter emissions data are available in Table 17 in the report.

What is the threshold of emissions for optimal human and environmental health

The Ministry of Environment standards maximums for modelled concentrations plus background concentrations over a 24 hour period are 25 μg/m3 for PM2.5 and 50 μg/m3 for PM10.

Purple Air

Has HBE considered using Purple Air particulate matter monitors around the community for baseline?

HBE has considered using Purple Air particulate matter monitors and will continue to examine all the options to continue to monitor its operations after start up of the plant.  In addition, HBE is also evaluating the inclusion of the Purple Air particulate matter monitors in establishing the baseline data for the area prior to any construction.

PM 2.5 seem to be a big load on the airshed. Purple air monitoring already shows very dangerous levels at times. Will the plant shut down if those levels are recorded?

Currently there is one Purple Air in the impacted area. Data for this station is available at: http://cirrus.unbc.ca/aqmap/?zoom=16&lat=55.214&lng=-127.661 The data from this site indicates lower than modelled baseline data.

Ongoing Requirements

Is the permit or certificate revocable for violations or non-performance on the stipulations?

When the Permit is issued the Ministry of Environment experts dictate the conditions of the permit which generally include both monitoring and reporting requirements.

Will particulate matter emissions be continuously monitored offsite?

When the Permit is issued the Ministry of Environment experts dictate the conditions of the permit which generally include both monitoring and reporting requirements.

One source has stated that a 5-year meteorological analysis is required according to policy before permits are issued. Will year round, annual monitoring of air quality by an independent party be required prior to issuing any Environmental Assessment permit or certificate?

When the Permit is issued the Ministry of Environment experts dictate the conditions of the permit which generally include both monitoring and reporting requirements.

General

Will there be smells emitted from the plant?

There will be smell emitted from the plant. The biomass itself has its own smell. The torrefaction process can emit a smell comparable to a wood fire, typically only during the shutdown of the torrefactor unit.

What can we expect in smoke emissions from the site?

The only visible “smoke” will be in the form of water vapor during “cold” temperatures.

What is the anticipated height of the smoke stacks?

The stacks are estimated to be around 50 feet (15 meters) in height.

Does that mean you will need to transfer the air discharge permit to HBE once it does exist and will there be a process that goes with that or is it a straight-forward transfer that can be easily exchanged between one corporation or another?

The Ministry of Environment can facilitate the transfer of the air discharge permit.

Visual impacts of haze will reduce perception of clean air. How will haze be reduced (even if opacity is within limits and PM below objectives)?

The plume is not expected to be visible except during colder months due to the condensing out of moisture in the exhaust stream. While the plume at these times would be visible this is caused by water vapour and not particulate.

Will operations be shut down / curtailed during inversions?

The dispersion model chosen for the assessment is able to represent worst case meteorological conditions, including meteorological inversions. For this reason there is no expectation that operations would be shut down during meteorological inversions.

Has baseline air quality data that is site-specific been collected by independent analysts, over several years, prior to the GDC’s application for the discharge to permit emissions, dated Sept. 5th, 2019?

Yes, baseline air quality data was collected prior to September 5th, 2019. Please see full air quality assessment at http://hazeltonbioenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/HBE.AirQualityAssessment.pdf for further details.

Dust

How much dust is produced from the pyrolysis process?

Dust is not produced by the pyrolysis process but by the preparation of the biomass (chipping, grinding) and through transportation and handling of the biomass within the process.

How is the dust collected?

The dust is captured with the use of dust collectors. These systems are 99.9% efficient at capturing the dust and are used in all types of industries. Dust residue is recycled in the process.

What dust collecting technology is proposed and are there any guidelines from the government that regulate this technology?

Dust collector with cartridges and cyclofilter (cyclone+dust collector) will be used at the plant. Airex Energy is a spin-off of Airex Industries (https://www.airex-industries.com/en/). Airex Industries is a company specializing in dust collection systems. Government set the standards on the amount/concentration of dust that can escape plant stacks, companies have to meet these standards.

Water

How much water is needed to operate the plant?

We estimate around 160 liters of water per tonne of pellets. Since the plant will have a nominal capacity of 15 tonnes per hour, the water consumption could be as high as 2400 litres per hour which is equivalent to 2.4 cubic meter per hour. It is important to note that there will be no waste water discharged from the process, only water vapor will be emitted from plant stacks.  This water is primarily used for cooling of the product after the torrefaction process.

Considerable amount of water is predicted to be used. I do not understand how there will be no waste water. Where does it go?

The water will either be recycled in the system and re-used for additional pellet production or will evaporate in the form of steam.

Is there a well and if so, does it hold enough water to support the plant’s operations?

Process water requirements are going to require a new source of water that will in all likelihood be well water as historically wells existed on the property.  Upon giving Final Investment Decision, we will be beginning the process to locate and test new sites for a well.  Potable water for general use will be via the existing municipal water connection servicing the site.  Fire flows are to be provided by the existing fire lagoons that exceed fire capacity regulations. These lagoons will require makeup flows to compensate for evaporation. This will likely be supplied by the process water from the newly sourced well.

Do the pellets leach in water and will they be leaching into the local soil?

Yes, the pellets will leach with prolonged exposure in water.  No pellets at the plant will not be leaching into the local soil as they will be stored in bins so there will be no exposure to the weather.

What is the amount of water used in the process, where is it sourced and how is it treated and discharged as waste?

Water is used to cool-down the torrefied biomass exiting the torrefaction process. Water is also used to add moisture to the torrefied biomass before it is densified into a pellet form. There is no waste water discharge from the process, the water used is either evaporated as steam or it is trapped in the torrefied wood pellets. The amount of water needed is around 160 liters per tonne of pellets produced.  Additional technology such as a water jacketed screw conveyor will also be incorporated to further reduce water consumption.  The source of the water will be from wells drilled on the property.

Jobs

What are the job/training opportunities surrounding the pellet plant?

Upon impending full operation of the plant, there will be a number of different career opportunities. Some of these opportunities include:

  • Millwright
  • Operators
  • Red Seal Electrician
  • Heavy Duty Mechanic
  • Class 1 drivers
  • Journeyman
  • Carpenters

HBE is committed to providing training opportunities and supporting potential employees through the process. For more information please contact karla@gitxsanbusiness.com.

Based on all of the Training the GDC has administered over the past few years - do you have an idea of how many local Gitxsan people are qualified to work at this site? Are there plans to do additional training and education specific to the full time permanent or indirect jobs this project will create?

GDC plans to continually train community members for this opportunity and other businesses. Training GDC has offered previously was focused on immediate job opportunities as well as preparing for future opportunities. In 2019, a first year university Forestry Program was offered in Hazelton with delivery partner Vancouver Island University. This program was geared towards individuals targeting a forestry career. Currently, GDC is offering an Environmental Technician program. This program prepares community members for resource based careers and protecting the environment. GDC also sponsors individuals who want to prepare themselves for career opportunities through our Recertification and Upgrading budget. Any community member that wants to gain the educational requirements for a position listed above can contact Tracey.Woods@gitxsanbusiness.com

HBE will train employees on job-specific training.

 

Other

What will be the level of light pollution emitted by the plant?

The torrefaction processing equipment and pelletizer are located in an  enclosed warehouse style building. Yard operations will be lit for safety and security purposes.

Has MOE done site-specific studies on the effects of noise and light pollution on human health, wildlife, and birds?

No site-specific studies have been done by the MOE in these regards.

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