The transition from fossil to solid biofuels for producing stationary energy is now well underway with Fonterra announcing its fourth conversion to using solid biofuel to replace coal. The economics and operational benefits of bioenergy in existing and new heat facilities is now well recognised by owners and operators, and wood fuel is becoming the renewable fuel of choice.
The large turnout of attendees at the recent Residues to Revenue Conference in Rotorua, and the information provided by speakers, reinforces that the capability to supply biomass to produce wood fuel is strong and increasing as demand for wood fuel increases. Accredited wood fuel suppliers and forest owners showed that they have now established robust storage and supply chains and are establishing regional supply hubs as demand requires.
Fonterra’s announcement for a new wood fuelled boiler at their Waitoa processing plant is supported by their partnership with Wood Energy New Zealand as the fuel supplier. This expansion by Wood Energy New Zealand from their existing South Island operations is another sign of how the wood fuel suppliers are able to expand to meet demand, regardless of where fuel is required across New Zealand.
The conference also encouraged forest managers and contractors to consider collecting residues which are often wasted, and making them available to be processed into wood fuel. A number of presenters showed how collection of residues can be done efficiently and it is expected that there will now be greater volumes of biomass recovered from plantation forests, and made available to wood fuel suppliers.
The signs are that the wood fuel supply market is in good health and growing as demand for wood fuel increases.
Executive Officer, Bioenergy Association of NZ