Friday Offcuts – 8 October 2021

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From Australia this week there’s been plenty of action. To counter the often well financed marketing campaigns by competing products, Australia yesterday launched their own entity, the Timber Framing Collective, to market timber framing across Australia. Financial support has come in from right across the supply chain with a series of new campaigns planned to be released to market over the coming months. Timberlink has also launched the latest instalment of their own campaign “Made of Tasmania " (check out the TV commercial below) that’s focusing on the company’s timber and their strong links to the Tasmanian community, the environment and to the local economy.

A new Assistance Program to transfer up to 60,000 tonnes of softwood logs off Kangaroo Island and into South Australian sawmills has just been opened up and we’ve included a story about AKD and how their staff, suppliers and customers, have got right in behind the McGrath Foundation’s Pink Up fundraising this month to help fight breast cancer and to raise awareness. The aim this year is to better last year’s efforts and to raise AU$100,000. Check out the story behind the campaign. A link has also been supplied for any donations to the company’s outstanding fund-raising efforts to the cause this month.

In the new technology space this week, trials have just been completed on a new automatic wood chip unloading operation that could replace traditional on-board dedicated cranes on wood chip carriers. And we cover a story of an innovative truck driver out of Canada who’s been working on a plan for over five years now. His mission - to convert forestry or mining trucks into hybrid diesel-electric vehicles. With the support of major trucking companies and electric and diesel specialists he’s developed his own prototype on one of his own trucks. Depending on the sector and terrain, based on his own hybrid prototype, he estimates savings of 12% to 15% are achievable with the conversion. Details on both innovations are detailed in this week’s issue.

And a final reminder to all foresters out there. Discounted early-bird registrations for this region’s eagerly awaited annual forestry technology showcase, ForestTECH 2021 finish next Friday, 15 October. This year, innovations and practical applications around data capture, remote sensing and forest inventory management from leading tech providers and forestry companies will fill one of the two days set aside. The second is dedicated to advances and local trials that have been undertaken with mechanised planting systems, establishment and silviculture.

Like last year, on-line virtual registrations are also be available to those unable to get into Rotorua. Registrations from around the world are flowing in. Since its inception 13 years ago, it has now become a truly international event with last year attracting delegates from over 20 different countries. So, if interested in securing a spot, registrations (live or virtual) can be made by clicking here. And on this note, stay safe and enjoy this week’s read.



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Timber Framing Collective launched

Yesterday marked the launch of Australia’s Timber Framing Collective. The Timber Framing Collective is responsible for the marketing of timber framing in Australia.

It sees previously fierce competitors (local producers and importers, amongst others), join forces for the greater good of the industry to promote, establish and consolidate ‘Timber Framing. The Ultimate Renewable’ is the leading building materials brand in Australia for residential construction.

The collective receives financial support from Australian sawmills, timber importers, industry associations and peak bodies, building products and treatment suppliers. These supporters currently include;

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), AKD, Boral Timber, Hyne Timber, OneFortyOne, Timberlink Australia, Wespine, Australian Timber Importers Federation (ATIF), Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA), Frame & Truss Manufacturers Association (FTMA), Koppers, Lonza, MiTek, Multinail, Pryda, Responsible Wood, Stora Enso, TABMA, Timber Queensland and Vida.

Timber Framing Collective spokesperson Marita Pierce-Indugula said, “While competitor building materials may have deeper pockets than ours in terms of advertising media spend, what we have is a supply chain that is unrivalled in size. Within that supply chain are people that are passionate about timber and are chomping at the bit to work with us to promote the many benefits of timber framing over other building materials.

“Timber has no equal when it comes to its environmental credentials. While other building materials add to carbon emissions, the timber framing industry is working with a natural sustainable product that stores carbon. Wood also has the lowest embodied energy of all common building materials.”

With a typical Australian home absorbing more than 7 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and storing almost 3 tonnes of carbon, it really makes timber framing the superior choice and the ultimate renewable. Right now, demand is outstripping supply but this will level out in time so, it’s important that builders, consumers, decision makers and influencers understand the many benefits of timber framing through the efforts of the new Timber Framing Collective.

We’re asking builders and consumers to continue being patient as supply catches up with unprecedented demand, in the knowledge that they are making a fantastic environmental decision to build with timber framing. A series of campaigns will be released to market over the coming months.

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Two pension funds acquire NZ forestry asset

Two European pension funds, APG Asset Management (APG) on behalf of its Dutch pension fund client ABP, and UK’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF), have agreed to purchase Sinotrans New Zealand Limited’s (Sinotrans NZ) shareholding in Wenita Forest Products Limited (Wenita).

Wenita is the largest producer of timber in Otago, New Zealand, across almost 30,000 hectares of sustainably managed forests. With a history spanning three decades, Wenita is widely recognised as one of the premier softwood plantation assets in New Zealand.

Under the agreement, the two investors will acquire the 62% share from Sinotrans NZ. A New Forests-managed fund, the Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 2 (ANZFF2), has owned the other 38% shareholding since 2018. The agreement will bring total ownership of Wenita under New Forests’ management.

Mark Rogers, Senior Managing Director, Australia, New Zealand and US, at New Forests said: “Wenita is a well-managed, mature asset of scale with strong cash flows, and in a region with domestic distribution and access to export markets. New Forests’ continued involvement with Wenita’s management team will help identify new ways to add value to the business including implementation of our sustainable landscape investment approach. Having the support of investment partners, who have invested with us for many years, means our interests are strongly aligned.”

Hans-Martin Aerts, Head of Infrastructure & Natural Resources at APG Asset Management Asia, said: “We are pleased to partner with PPF and New Forests to acquire a controlling interest in Wenita. This investment is a great fit with our sustainability strategy and will contribute to ABP’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Wenita is a large-scale sustainably managed forest company with all its plantations being certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). We look forward to working with our partners to ensure a long-term, stable and sustainable investment return for our clients.”

Lea Dubourg-Hrachovec, Head of Infrastructure, Timberland and Farmland at the Pension Protection Fund said: “Wenita is the fourth addition to our growing program of direct investments into sustainable, FSC certified forestry assets globally. What attracted us to Wenita is its long-established operational track record, mature, high quality forest portfolio with a close proximity to the deep-sea port of Chalmers, which makes it a very highly prized forestry asset in New Zealand. We believe Wenita has a great long-term potential and we’re very excited to be part of its future alongside our partners APG and New Forests.”

There will be no significant changes to Wenita’s employees following the acquisition. All commercial terms are confidential.

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Made of Tasmania campaign launched

Following the highly popular “Together We Build” campaign launch in 2018, Timberlink has announced the latest instalment of their Made of Tasmania campaign: Timberlink Timber Links Us All.

The new campaign will feature on Tasmanian television commercials and digital advertising throughout October/November 2021 and into 2022. The new campaign message focuses on the valuable link that Timberlink’s sustainably produced timber creates with the Tasmanian community, the environment and the local economy.

The television commercial was produced in Tasmania with an all Tasmanian production crew, and features Tasmanian Timberlink staff, a building designer, school children and pine nursery staff. It is a production that is truly Made of Tasmania.



Source: Timberlink

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AKD goes pink for October

It’s estimated that 19,866 women and 164 men in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021. (Source: www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au). Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Australian women. Improving survival rates is only possible with ongoing research, early detection, comprehensive treatment, care programs and public awareness and support.

Life doesn’t always go the way you plan and isn’t that a poignant statement in our second year of dealing with Covid-19. But imagine getting a shock breast cancer diagnosis amidst the pandemic – and breast cancer is not discriminating – it hasn’t taken a break during the pandemic and it affects men and women of all ages.

Whilst we’re being conditioned this year that staying close to home is necessary and for our own safety, with the ongoing pandemic and delta strain now in our communities, the prevalence of breast cancer in Australia means another kind of close to home. The current diagnosis rate means that most of us will have breast cancer touch our lives in some way in our lifetime – whether it’s family, friends or colleagues. In Australia, one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85.

However, getting on board with the McGrath Foundation’s Pink Up fundraising month in October means we can all do something about fighting breast cancer and raising awareness, whilst supporting those that need it. AKD, an Australian owned timber processing business with operations across regional communities, is a proud supporter of the McGrath Foundation and whilst the company is used to being recognised for its company branded orange, it really tries to adopt “everything pink” in October each year to help raise funds and awareness for this worthy cause.

From shoe laces and t-shirts, to face masks logos and product packaging, AKD proudly Pinks It Up! This year the company is pleased to be targeting $100,000 of funds to be raised across its East Coast business, with the support of its employees, our local communities and the whole business supply chain.

“It humbles us each year how many of our employees, our community members, our suppliers and our customers support AKD to raise funds for the McGrath Foundation. Off the back of raising in excess of $80,000 last year, we decided to aim for $100,000 this year! AKD matches every dollar donated by our employees”, says AKD’s CEO, Mr Shane Vicary.

These funds help support the cornerstones of the McGrath Foundations work - McGrath Breast Care Nurses and Breast Health Understanding. From the time of diagnosis, and throughout treatment, the breast care nurses inform, organise, empower and support people with breast cancer and their families. Education focusses on both women and men having good breast health understanding. This means being aware of the importance of breast health, having confidence in recognising changes in your breasts, knowing the risk factors for breast cancer, and learning how to complete your own regular breast check.

Mr Vicary comments that “Yes, it’s been another tough year for everyone with Covid-19 but that hasn’t stopped this disease and we’re very conscious that whilst many of us are dealing with the challenges of lockdowns and feeling we can’t do much about those, we can do something about fighting breast cancer and supporting those that have been affected by donating to the McGrath Foundation this October – every dollar counts and everyone can make a positive difference.”

Donations to this very worthy cause can be made here.

Source: AKD

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Tool for solid biofuel regional supply planning

Over half of New Zealand’s process heat demand is met by burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas, and in 2016 burning fossil fuels to supply process heat emitted 8.3 million tonnes of CO2e or about 28% of New Zealand’s overall energy emissions.

Some of these emissions can be reduced by redesigning the underlying processes, but decarbonising the remaining heat needs will require switching from fossil fuels to low-emission fuels, such as wood fuels in boilers or electricity in electric boilers or heat pumps.

These changes will have implications. Switching to electricity will increase loads on electricity networks, at both the distribution and transmission levels, and may require investments to increase capacity. The cost of switching to wood fuels will depend on fuel availability, which varies regionally, and on the amount of competition for the resource.

To help inform these decisions and better plan for the future, EECA has developed a new tool, The Regional Heat Demand Database, which can be used to identify where the opportunities for replacing fossil fuels used for stationary heat with low emission fuels (biomass and electricity) are located across New Zealand. The searchable database can be segmented by region, type of application and possible fuel type. So far it only includes data for Southland and Canterbury. The information will assist equipment suppliers see the opportunity for their business.

The tool will also assist solid biofuel suppliers to plan future regional supply requirements so that there is the right biomass, in the right place, at the right time, over the period out to 2050. Initial analysis shows the quantities of fuel which will be required in each region. This database is the most recent comprehensive and holistic assessment of heat demand across New Zealand and making this available in a timely manner will enable decisions to be made to change course to enable fuel switching and decarbonisation.

For more information on the new tool, Click here

Source : BANZ Bioflash Newsletter, EECA



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World’s 1st automatic woodchip discharging crane

Iknow Machinery, Nippon Paper Industries and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha have conducted a cargo handling trial of the world's first automatic crane operation system, which was developed for wood-chip carriers by Iknow Machinery. The trial was performed at Tomakomai port (Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan) in late August and enabled the three companies to confirm the effect of the system to reduce the burden on wood-chip cargo-handling crane operators.

Background

Wood chips loaded on wood-chip carriers are discharged using a dedicated crane installed on the ship. The discharging work is a repetitive work of capturing the wood chips loaded in the cargo hold of the ship with a special grab that is a part of the onboard crane, pulling the grab up, and throwing it into the hopper (a saucer-shaped stage) installed on the upper deck. Crane operations for discharging work are carried out by professional licensed drivers, not by the ship's crew. Crane operators usually work day and night, and when discharging all cargo at one port, they work continuously for about three days.

Outline of cargo handling trial

The crane automatic operation system is designed to carry out discharging work once a crane operator uses an operation panel installed in the cab of the onboard crane to select one of the pre-set types of routine movements. Three sensors attached to the grab detect the surface of the cargo loaded in the cargo hold, and they wirelessly transmit a signal to the crane. The grab then rolls down, slows down its speed as it approaches the surface of the cargo, and lands on the cargo. For the sake of safety and efficiency, the system is equipped with a grab fall-prevention function and a hopper full-load detection sensor.

In this cargo handling trial, the automatic crane operation system was retrofitted on the onboard crane of the vessel Growth Ring, a wood-chip carrier engaged in a long-term contract between Nippon Paper Industries and NYK. With the attendance of the crane operator, the crane with the automatic crane operation system carried out discharging work for about four hours. The trial confirmed that this automatic crane operation system enabled the crane to handle about 70% of the cargo, which was the initial target of the trial. The attended crane operators gave comments such as “it was easier to handle this automatic operation system because it works just by buttons being pushed” and “the operation was safe enough.”

Going forward, Iknow Machinery will commercialize this system by taking advantage of the effectiveness of the automatic system confirmed in this trial. Nippon Paper Industries will consider installation of the automatic system on wood-chip carriers, and will further work to reduce the burden on and improve the work environment of crane operators. NYK will further cooperate in the development of technology to reduce the burden on crane operators, and will work to resolve social issues throughout the supply chain as a sustainable solution provider while pursuing safe operation, which is the basis of ESG management.

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Source: NYK Line

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Deal done to get timber off Kangaroo Island

Up to 60,000 tonnes of softwood logs will start to be shipped off Kangaroo Island to support South Australia’s forestry sector and booming housing construction industry, with applications to the Construction Softwood Transport Assistance Program (CSTAP) now open.

The CSTAP is jointly funded by the Morrison Coalition Government and Marshall Liberal Government and provides assistance to freight bushfire-affected softwood logs salvaged from Kangaroo Island to the South Australian mainland and then to sawmills with immediate capacity to process structural timber.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said “I am pleased we have been able to reach an agreement with the South Australian Government to start getting fire-damaged timber off of Kangaroo Island and into the market where it’s needed most.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said “The Marshall Liberal Government has been working closely with the Morrison Coalition Government to deliver a viable solution to getting this timber to market and this transport subsidy will maximise the amount of sawmill quality logs available to local processors.

The Construction Softwood Transport Assistance Program is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments with the following assistance available:

• funding will be made available for transport of bushfire-affected softwood logs suitable and intended for processing into structural timber;

• a total of AU$30 per tonne assistance for transport from Kangaroo Island to the South Australian mainland;

• a total assistance of 10 cents per tonne per kilometre travelled by road from first port of landing to sawmill, commencing after the first 200 road kilometres travelled.

Source: premier.sa.gov.au

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Funding support for local forestry training

In its latest funding round, Otago Community Trust awarded a NZ$19,611 grant to the Tokomairiro Training Pathways course to assist with the cost of running the Forestry Pathways Programme out of Tokomairiro Training Centre. Tokomairiro Training programme manager Lynda Allan said the programme specialises in breaking down barriers to learning for young people, who are often at risk of dropping out of school.

“The Forestry Pathways Programme places emphasis on silviculture operations and introduces learners to a variety of industry pathways including future tertiary study and employment”. The programme has been running for three years now, it is run for two days each week over a 32-week period and is well supported by local high schools and financially supported by several local forestry companies. The feedback we receive from students is overwhelmingly positive with several students now fully employed in the industry, said Ms Allan.

Otago Community Trust chair, Diccon Sim said trustees were particularly impressed with the Forestry Pathways Programme. “The programme aligns closely with the Trust’s strategic priority of increased access to opportunities, particularly in its ability to provide economic benefits and enhance employment opportunities for a number of young people in Otago.”

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Green deal still stands for Tasmanian industry

The Tasmanian forestry industry worked tirelessly to transform and fit within the Tasmanian Forest Agreement model — this created a void for professional activists who are now trying to reignite the fight with explosive and misleading language.

Following years of investment and hard work we have an industry focused on producing more with less. More on island value adding, more regeneration and plantations and more focus on environmental solutions. So, let’s look at the latest target, native timber. Firstly, what is native timber? Well, it generally comes in two forms. Regenerated native forests and previously unharvested native forests or old growth.

A very small percentage of native timber comes from unharvested native forests. The rest from regenerated forests. As the name suggests regenerated forests are forests harvested in the past, regenerated and will be harvested again in the future. These forests produce fibre and Tasmanian Oak for doors, stairs flooring and furniture. Basically, it is the same cycle of farming the forests that has been done since man invented the axe.

Unharvested native forests provide access to specialty timbers that Tasmania is famous for such as blackwood, sassafras, celery top pine and myrtle. It’s also an important source of premium Tasmanian Oak used for the premium flooring, bench tops, furniture and architectural features. The timber the two forests produce is different. This is not simply a matter of convenience nor a marketing ploy but a matter of producing a different timber for different purposes.

Then there are our important plantation forests, for hardwood and softwood timber and wooden products. They are different again, but that’s another story. The line between regenerated and old growth is blurred more often than it’s not by our critics. While old growth native timbers are an important piece of the forestry puzzle, it accounts for a small percentage of industry output.

So where is old growth harvested? In selected areas agreed on by environmental groups under the TFA. The Tarkine, an old mixed forest area given a new name includes areas of managed forests on the outskirts, areas that generally border grazing pastures and other farms, as well as button grass plains.

No one is driving into the depths of the Tarkine and harvesting these sensitive areas and no amount of alarmist commentary will make that the case. Environmental groups would have you believe the forest area in the Tarkine’s 450,000ha is under threat. This could not be further from the truth. The Tarkine has never been under threat and never will be. But as a new battle ground is set, maps are emerging online with a “new Tarkine boundary” that extends into nearby farms, towns and managed forests.

We don’t operate by these exaggerated maps, we operate according to boundaries agreed upon. Moving the lines might be convenient when arguing that the Tarkine is being destroyed, however it does not make it true. More than half of Tasmania’s forests are protected and over 90 percent of old growth is protected, forever! World Heritage areas have been created and the industry has moved to improve.

Timber products are being recognised as a carbon store and as a natural product that creates functional, practical, affordable and biodegradable products such as packaging, furniture, and construction materials, including ply veneer and framing.

Growing our own timber means not importing it from countries with less environmental control than here. As we look down the barrel of a simultaneous worldwide building timber shortage and a social housing crisis we need to think — how did we get here? The pressure over decades from environmentalists to “reduce, reduce, reduce” has resulted in Australia importing 40 per cent of our building timber. This is madness, we are world leaders in sustainable forestry.

I leave you with a quote: “The Forest Agreement gives us what Tasmanians and Australians have wanted for our forests for decades, a World Heritage Area in the southern forests and an end to logging in 500,000ha of our iconic forests”.

This is from The Wilderness Society website; however, it seems that when political ambitions are on the line, honouring past deals and common sense is optional.

Nick Steel, Chief Executive, Tasmanian Forest Products Association



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Lendlease builds partnership with Stora Enso

The new partnership will see the two companies develop sustainable timber construction products at a new studio in Milan

International real estate group Lendlease has launched a partnership with a leading supplier of sustainable wood for construction, Stora Enso, in a bid to slash the embedded carbon from its buildings.

Announced late last week at an event in Milan, where the two companies plan to establish a new studio, the partnership will see the two companies accelerate the use of environmentally friendly construction products through collaborative research and the development of sustainable timber products.

A new studio will be built in Milan, where Lendlease has $7.9bn in urbanisation projects underway, to develop the sustainable timber products and facilitate their rollout across the company's European development projects, which are together worth $52bn.

The studio, dubbed Podium MX, will be based at the company's Milan Innovation District, which is being developed into a site for building technology projects and is to be powered by renewable energy sources.

The partnership follows 10 years of collaboration between the two companies on eight sustainable timber buildings, of which the 25 King office in Brisbane, Australia has been shown to reduce carbon emissions by 74 per cent or 5,000 tonnes.

Commenting on the partnership, Lars Völkel, executive vice president of Stora Enso Wood Products division, said: "We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Lendlease, a true frontrunner in sustainable building solutions. Together we will lead the transition towards more circular, innovative and digitalized solutions to help speed up the construction industry's transformation."

Source: businessgreen



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New phase for NZ eucalypt initiative

New Zealand’s Forestry Minister Stuart Nash (pictured) last Friday planted the first elite XyloGene seedlings of eucalypt species that produce durable heartwood. The planting spearheads a new phase for a project which has already seen more than 30 eucalypt plantations established in suitable regions of New Zealand.

XyloGene is the brand name for these elite seedlings developed in a project led by the New Zealand Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI), founded by Marlborough’s Paul Millen. He was recently named Forester of the Year for his 18 years of work developing and leading a nationwide tree-breeding and research programme to create a future NZ hardwood industry.

Since it formed in 2008 with strong ongoing support from the Marlborough Research Centre, the NZDFI has worked with farmers and landowners in regions from north Canterbury to Northland to establish an extensive network of eucalypt trials and plantations.

The University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry worked with Marlborough Research Centre to establish a tree improvement and forest research programme in eucalypts, with wood quality a major component. This has attracted internationally renowned researchers and supported 11 PhD students.

Proseed, owned by Ngāi Tahu, the largest forest seed producer in Australasia, now propagate XyloGene seed and cuttings. “We’ve been supported by so many people to get us to this point where we now have a range of viable emerging uses for eucalypts for local use including construction and furniture and even export,” says Paul Millen. “XyloGene nursery stock has proven qualities which will drive new plantings of the forests needed for a future hardwood industry.”

He presented Minister Nash with a bowl, turned from E. bosistoana by Marlborough wood turner Rod Shoemark.

Proseed CEO, Shaf van Bellekom, Canterbury’s School of Forestry head Professor Bruce Manley and Marlborough Research Centre CEO Gerald Hope were among those attending the planting at Awatere farmer Warwick Lissaman’s property.

Gerald Hope says Paul Millen’s drive has seen the NZDFI project secure NZ$9 million in funding which has allowed its substantial growth over 18 years of hard work. “This began as an idea to provide an alternative for the millions of treated pine fenceposts in Marlborough vineyards and now it’s poised to see planting go to a whole new level with these new elite species.”

Source: New Zealand Dryland Forests Initiative

Further coverage can be read here



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Quebec trucker designs a hybrid forestry truck

Larry Bolduc has been a truck driver for more than 25 years and is now the head of the family business Transport Raoul Bolduc in Girardville, Que., in the Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean region of Canada. He also launched another business in parallel, called Électrocamion. The business plan is to convert forestry or mining trucks into hybrid diesel-electric vehicles, whether they are new or existing.

Like many inventors before him, Bolduc first tested his mechanical concepts on himself, or on his truck, we should say. His massive Kenworth C500, which he uses every day to transport freshly felled trees to processing plants, became his hybridization laboratory.

Loads of 150 tons and more

In an interview with Transport Routier, he explains that an all-electric engine was not an option for very heavy off-road transport. And when we say very heavy, we’re talking about a gross vehicle weight of between 150 and 160 tons. “You’d have to have a trailer full of batteries,” he says to illustrate the commercial non-viability of an all-electric truck that carries its payload in battery weight.

On the other hand, he mused, backing up an electric motor with a diesel engine could make the latter consume less fuel when a power surge is required, such as when climbing a hill. And the good thing about a slope you climb is that it inevitably comes down on the other side, allowing the batteries to be recharged through regeneration.

This regeneration also provides an estimated 240 hp of braking force, reducing wear on the service brakes as well as the engine brake. “You hardly ever use it, except when you have a really steep grade,” he says of the engine brake.

A team effort

His first discussions with the electric motor manufacturer TM4 (then part of Hydro-Québec) took place in 2009, when he was considering installing electric motors on his axles. It wasn’t until six years later, however, that the dream began to crystallize, when the folks at TM4 (now Dana-TM4) contacted him again. “It started to crystallize when the folks at TM4 made an engine and said, ‘We might have something for you.’ That really started in 2015,” he says.

The self-taught man has surrounded himself with people who could support him in his project to hybridize a truck of this size. Companies like Kenworth Quebec, to whom he turns when he has specific technical questions, researchers Jan Michaelsen and Dave Waknin of FPInnovations, LTS Marine for its first generation of batteries and the touch-screen on-board computer that manages the interaction of the diesel and electric engines, and the St-Félicien Diesel workshop for practical mechanical questions.

Based on experience with the current prototype, the contribution of the electric motor to reducing the effort of the big diesel Cummins, as well as its fuel consumption, is tangible. Asked to put a figure on these savings, he replies: “It depends on the sector. We’re looking at 12% to 15%. The more mountainous the areas, the more the regeneration savings there are.”

More >>

Photo: Electrocamion

Source: trucknews.com



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China Timber Structures Design Handbook published

Friday Offcuts had previously reported on 2 February 2018 the publication of Standard for Design of Timber Structures GB50005-2017. That document meets the same purpose as its New Zealand equivalent, NZS3603. Now, a companion Handbook, China Timber Structures Design Handbook (Fourth Edition) has been produced by China Architecture Publishing Ltd.

The Handbook is a comprehensive document of 848 pages. It provides guidance to engineers and designers who design timber structures in China. The 4th edition recognises innovative timber building products and techniques. These include cross laminated timber (CLT), mid-rise and high-rise timber building methods and prefabricated timber construction technology. Design guidelines developed in New Zealand, Canada, Europe and the U.S. have been used as reference documents in the Handbook’s preparation.

The role of radiata pine as a structural timber is specifically referred to in both the Standard and the Handbook. To ensure radiata’s inclusion, Dr Minghao Li from the University of Canterbury and Bill Lu of Indufor Asia Pacific Ltd attended meetings in China. Their participation was coordinated by WPMA and SCION.

Alongside this process, the SCION-led group, involving Doug Gaunt, Minghao Li and Bill Lu have participated in the on-going partial revision of national standard GB/T 50708-2012 Technical Code of Glued Laminated Timber Structures. The relevant nomenclature and classifications applying to GL products from NZ radiata pine are recognised.

The combined technical initiatives have received extensive assistance from Ministry for Primary Industries and other forest industry groups. As Peter Clark, former President of the Forest Owners Association has commented, “…the inclusion of radiata pine within the China building codes will remove a significant constraint to adoption of light-framed house construction. Radiata pine also continues to be increasingly adopted for uses beyond its utility role as support for the construction of concrete buildings and infrastructure.”

Photo Credit: China Architecture Publishing Ltd, Beijing

Source: Indufor Asia Pacific Ltd

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Russia’s forest fires – just how bad?

In mid-August, the leader of the Republic of Sakha, in Russia, told residents not to go outside, and to avoid breathing unfiltered air if at all possible. Wildfire smoke filled the streets of Yakutsk, reducing visibility to less than a block. Smoke spread to the North Pole for the first time ever. It spread across the Pacific Ocean. Fires in California this year stunned forest stewards with their size and intensity. But they look puny compared to the fires raging in Siberia.

We don’t yet know how much land has been consumed by wildfires this season, that satellite data is still coming in. A report from Greenpeace, based on statistics from Russian fire services, estimates that 65,000 square miles have burned — more than six times the area burned in the United States so far this year. At their peak, in August, 190 blazes were spreading across Sakha and Chukotka, Russia’s farthest northeastern regions.

In July and August, wildfires in northeastern Russia released 806 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to a new report from Copernicus, the European Union’s satellite program. “That’s more carbon than the emissions of the entire country of Germany, one of the largest economies in the world,” observed James MacCarthy, a mapping expert who keeps an eye on the state of the world’s woodlands for Global Forest Watch. “And you are looking at a trend that’s increasing.”

More >>

Source: grist

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... and one to end the week on ... it’s raining drones

We often highlight drones or UAV’s and how they’re changing how we manage our forest operations. However, very occasionally everything doesn’t go quite to plan. A light show to celebrate a shopping mall in China has ended with onlookers scrambling after dozens of drones started to fall from the sky.

More than 200 drones lifted off at the Wanda Plaza shopping mall in Zhengzhou High-tech Zone in Henan Province, but soon after the start of the performance, they began dropping back to the ground. Video from the event shows the drones crashing back to earth.



While no injuries have been reported, there are claims that foul play may be to blame. Local drone outlet Kanzhaji says police are investigating if a rival operator somehow jammed the transmission signals.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a competitor has caused a similar malfunction. In 2020, police arrested four people after drones crashed down during a performance in Chengdu, reports DroneDJ.com. They were from a rival firm upset at not getting the gig.




And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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