2008-09-30

Technology development project to find use for mountain pine beetle devastated wood

A $28-million multi-partner research project in Alberta is developing the technology to convert dead trees into high-grade newsprint, and provide a use for massive tracts of forest in Alberta and BC devastated by the mountain pine beetle.

The project involves field testing new Alberta-developed sensor technology and equipment modifications at Alberta Newsprint Company's Whitecourt plant. The new technology will adjust the newsprint process for beetle-killed wood's drier, weaker, and darker characteristics. This installation is part of a broader research and development project that started in 2005 and will continue through to full-scale production in 2015.

"Millions of dead and dying mountain pine beetle-infested trees will be put to commercial use to manufacture newsprint," says Doug Horner, minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology.