Environment Manager Lindsay Sahaydak says MDI is used in many products like spray foam insulation, plastics for appliances, furniture and shoe glue, and is used at every other Louisiana Pacific OSB plant in North America. The plant would still use their current phenolic resins, and add MDI to the mix.
"Our supplier of MDI told us that a lot of their clients have seen a quality increase in their board of about .5 per cent," she says. ".5 per cent doesn't sound like a lot, but to us it means about two to three days of additional production during the year of this really high quality board."
That board will then fetch a better market price. Sahaydak says other benefits include making it easier to make thicker panels, allowing for more moisture in the wood which reduces the fire risk, and a quicker start up after a shut down. As they don't have to dry the wood as much, there is less of a demand on the plant's pollution control equipment, and there will be less waste going to the landfill due to cleaner blenders.
Although B.C. does not currently have emission standards for the product, the requested rate is under the levels of other Canadian provinces.
"If that emission rate can meet all of those standards of how it affects the odour and environment, then [the Ministry] is likely to say, okay this sounds reasonable as long as you test regularly at least at first to make sure you're meeting that."
PVOSB ran a one day trial back in July, during which only two of 84 sure spot hygiene tests exceeded WorkSafe B.C. standard, which will be remedied through engineering and additional protective equipment. The PVOSB doesn't expect there to be many public concerns about the change, mostly because MDI does not have an odour.
"There are some MDI emissions associated with running the resin, like there would be if we changed anything else," Sahaydak explains, however, "By the time it reached the fence line of our property or a neighbouring house or something like that, it would have reacted enough that there's hardly anything there so they wouldn't notice any effect on their lives at home."
Residents will have a 30 day period to file official comments once the application is filed, but PVOSB has already started giving presentations to community groups.