Geothermal Lumber Drying Kilns

Canadian Forest Products

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Contribution Agreement



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The goal of Canfor’s emissions reductions project is to develop a commercial-scale geothermal direct-heat system at their Whitecourt facility. Drying lumber in kilns is a key step in manufacturing high quality, heat-treated lumber products and represents a significant component of energy used at their facilities. This project intends to provide geothermal heat to the sawmill’s kilns to displace natural gas powered energy.  Through a series of heat exchangers, geothermal energy will be transferred to circulating heat-transfer fluids to meet the majority of the heat load of the lumber drying kilns. Using geothermal energy for industrial direct-heat purposes is new to Canada. This project would serve as a proof of concept of using hot sedimentary aquifer (HSA) geothermal energy for economic industrial direct use. This project will demonstrate how the skills of Alberta’s oil and gas workers (i.e. geoscience, engineering, drilling and pipelining expertise) can be readily applied to geothermal development.  The Whitecourt location is a confluence of commercial heat demand, available geothermal resources, and the skills and expertise to safely and successfully execute the project. Canfor is conducting a due diligence review of the project and expects to make a final decision on the project in September 2023.