Transport & Energy

Current Projects

Click on each title below for project details

Energy Intensity Reduction

Given the instability in fuel prices, the Forest Products Association of Canada’s “30 by 30” Climate Change Challenge, and the Vision 2020 goal to minimize the industry’s carbon footprint, forest companies must reduce their consumption of diesel fuel during logging operations and during the delivery of fibre to mills.

Forest companies require a program of targeted fuel studies to identify operating techniques and technology that can reduce fuel consumption, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and increase overall productivity. The goal is to reduce the overall energy intensity, or litres of fuel burned, needed for the delivery of raw products to mills. Contractors and operators also want to confirm that the technologies being proposed do in fact offer fuel savings, and they want to know which operating techniques can achieve improvements in efficiency.

  • Identify techniques and technology that can reduce the energy used per unit of production; Transfer the knowledge gained in energy intensity reduction activities through workshops, electronic multimedia tools, and implementation activities.
  • Develop tools that can help industry account for and use to report on their GHG reduction efforts and carbon footprint.

Improvement of Transport and Driver Safety

The forest sector as a whole strives to provide a safe working environment for its workers and the general public who access resource roads for recreational or other purposes.

The level of hazards associated with forestry transportation is extremely high to drivers, forest workers, and the general public. As well, a top priority of many FPInnovations members is recruiting and retaining log truck drivers. Keeping drivers healthy and injury-free is an important strategy for retaining a viable truck driver pool. Making the job easier and less stressful by simplifying or eliminating some of the driver tasks can also help retain older drivers and attract newer ones.

  • Identify the technologies, practices, and systems that improve forest transport safety, reduce driver injury and improve driver health, and simplify the job of drivers.
  • Identify innovative safety technology that can be readily adopted in forest operations to help the operations mitigate unique safety challenges often associated with work in remote locations, adverse weather conditions, limited access, and phase congestion.

Energy Intensity Benchmarking

Off-road equipment operators and their managers have expressed a strong desire for sound machineoperating practices that reduce fuel consumption and increase productivity. There is a need to quantify the energy intensity and carbon footprint of various tasks and working conditions for commonly used harvesting machines in Canada. Quantifying this energy intensity is the first step in the development of an accurate carbon footprint model for Canadian forest harvesting operations.

  • Develop a fuel utilization profile for various work phases in forest operations.
  • Create a model for fuel consumption for a given harvesting system in given conditions.
  • Develop database tools that members can refer to for benchmarking their operations.

Implementation and Tech Transfer of FPInnovations’ Support Tools

This project aims to help FPInnovations members implement FPInnovations’ technologies that are related to transportation and energy, such as the FPDat data logger and the FPInnovations fuel management system. The project will also develop online tools to help members with their transport operations. In 2017, FPInnovations will finalize an online Canadian weights and dimensions guide.

  • Assist FPInnovations members implement technologies related to transportation and energy.
  • Develop online tools to assist members in their transport operations.

Investigate the Potential of Electric Yard Vehicles

Electric engines and off-road machines have made great progress in the past decade, and several electric or hybrid off-road machines are now available. However, not many of the types of machines used in forest or mill operations are available as electric or hybrid models. FPInnovations will look into the potential of electric or hybrid machines, identifying possible return on investment, greenhouse gas reduction opportunities, and barriers to entry, as well as technologies that can help introduce these machines in operations, such as battery swapping and solar- or wind-powered chargers.

  • Evaluate the potential of implementing electric or hybrid yard machines, with particular attention to return on investment, durability, maintenance and energy, and greenhouse gas reduction potential.

Contamination Removal From Chip Trucks

Parasitic weight reduces log truck efficiency and, when entering the pulp mill process, it can damage refining plates and conduits, with an annual cost of more $1.4 million. Truck wash stations are expensive and problematic in winter. A simpler approach would be to remove the parasitic weight using heavy grids, also known as cattle guards.

Previous efforts in using cattle guards have been largely ineffective. A new approach would be to design a more effective cattle guard-like structure that would dislodge more dirt from the truck. This would entail spacing the bars at random intervals and at varying heights, and doing so for a greater length of travel.

  • Design and test a cattle guard-like contamination removal system for chip trucks.

Development of Advanced Vehicles for Rural Road Networks

There is a gradient of technologies that needs to be investigated. These technologies are classified by the Society of Automotive Engineers into six levels of driving automation, from 0 (no automation) to 5 (full automation). There are technologies at levels 1 (driver assistance) or 2 (partial automation) that are on the market now, or soon will be, which need to be tested for their applicability to rural roads. There is also a need to investigate the application of more advanced levels of automation. For example, levels 3 (conditional automation), 4 (high automation), and 5 (full automation) can be implemented without the restrictions that apply to highway transportation.

  • Initiate the integration of autonomous transport systems in a controlled and segregated area, such as a product transfer yard.
  • Test driver assistance systems that can enable different levels of driving automation.

Safe and Efficient Trucking

Transportation accounts for up to 50% of the costs in the forest sector in B.C. These costs are greater than $1 billion per year, just to deliver fibre to the mills; this translates to more than 240 million litres of fuel and 640 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

New, larger, and more productive (yet safe) configurations need to be researched, developed, and adopted. Higher-payload, safe, and efficient vehicles are key to a sustainable forest sector in B.C.

  • Provide industry with a road map document to facilitate future route approval for 9-axle log truck configurations.
  • Develop a vehicle concept for a new 9-axle steep-terrain configuration and conduct initial vehicle evaluation.
  • Collaborate with industry and trailer manufacturers to obtain initial approval for proposed 10-axle chip van.
  • Continue to explore opportunities to partner with manufacturers to develop a two-container hauler configuration.
  • Support industry with approval of additional routes for 9-axle flatbed configuration.
  • Summarize research on the impact of wide-base tires on pavement, with a goal of updating the methodologies that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure uses to evaluate the road impacts of configurations equipped with such tires.
  • Conduct an evaluation of an ergonomic truck seat under development in B.C.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction

The B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Environment have legislated to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 33% by the year 2020 compared to emissions levels in 2007. There is a need to explore GHG reduction opportunities that could systematically be used and categorized with respect to GHG reduction impact, likelihood of success, and a path toward implementation. Previous research in equipment operation and fuel consumption fully supports that operator technique and practice have a large impact on fuel consumption and, hence, GHG emissions. As has been observed in studies in support of FPInnovations’ SmartDriver training for truck drivers, fuel savings of up to 10% are possible.

As such, FPInnovations will continue field tests quantifying the impact of energy-intensity reduction strategies and will use this information in specific SmartOperator modules that address the audience needs in other sectors.

  • Test technologies and operating practices to document and validate GHG reduction impact.
  • Deliver SmartOperator workshops that will encourage and entice industry to adopt GHG reduction practices.
  • Engage other off-road sectors (construction, mining, agriculture, and oil and gas) to gauge their receptivity and acceptance of the SmartOperator approach.
  • Create an online version of the workshop.
  • Deliver SmartOperator workshops to the forest sector first, and use the feedback received to tailor the content to other sectors.
  • Implement a pilot project of a complete energy intensity management system in an operation.