The governments of Europe, North America and Asia all adhere to an energy policy integrating the development of biofuels and bioenergy.
With its forests, British Columbia has a major asset for the production of wood-based biofuels. The University of British Columbia (UCB) has a research center on clean energy within its Faculty of Applied Sciences. The center is developing a process for the development of biofuels and wood-based chemical compounds. From a technical point of view, biofuel production platforms exist but they still need to be improved and compared in their efficiency to produce value-added products. "Bio-refineries" should be created to convert biomass into multiple products, divided into fibers, energy and various chemicals (from polymers to pulp). The principle of converting biomass to ethanol is divided into three steps that each produce a compound required for the next step as well as a product that is directly exploitable. Thus the first stage produces lignin and cellulose, the second of the sugars which, fermented, produce in the third stage of ethanol. Lignin, sugars and ethanol are directly usable products.
The concept of "bio-refinery" is optimal from an economic and environmental point of view by using all the components of the wood. For example, harvesting only 25% of pine beetle infested wood, a pest insect, could cover British Columbia's gasoline needs for five to ten years. The damage caused by the dendoctrone decreases the market value of the forest. In addition, accumulated dead wood greatly increases the risk of major fires. The development of bioenergy could stop this phenomenon by justifying the cost of logging and reforestation, thus improving forest management.