Canfor is driving performance improvements through innovation across all of our operations.
In 2015, we were the first North American participant in the prestigious Schweighofer Innovation Prize, which awards innovative ideas, technologies, products and services in the European woodworking industry. We made it possible for 10 researchers from universities across North America to attend the ceremony in Vienna in June, and co-sponsored an innovation workshop.
Our Forest Management Group successfully tested nine-axle log trucks that can reduce costs, address the shortage of truck drivers and improve safety. We currently use trucks with six, seven or eight axles, and the new vehicles will allow us to increase payloads by 10% to 15%. This means fewer trucks on the roads, reducing both fuel use and our carbon footprint. Once authorization is received for the trial route north of Fort St. James, BC, we will apply to use the vehicles on other routes.
We established a Wood Residue Task Force in 2015 to find sustainable solutions to historical and ongoing wood residue accumulations of woody debris at our sawmill sites. We also used drone aerial photography to quantify the debris accumulations at nine mill sites. Our plans now are to characterize accumulations and identify management options so we can prepare mill-specific plans.
We tested a higher-capacity log yard debris and screening system at two sawmills to separate debris into usable products and reduce landfill quantities. In 2015, we processed 18,730 cubic metres of debris, separating it into usable bark, rock and mineral matter and fines.
We completed construction of our Chetwynd pellet plant, and our Fort St. John pellet plants neared completion. When they reach full capacity in 2016, they will have a combined annual production capacity of 175,000 tonnes of wood pellets. Through the use of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) electricity generation technology, Chetwynd Pellet alone will generate 21,000 MWh of renewable electricity every year, offsetting the total pellet plant and some of the sawmill electrical load.