Forestry interest in biofuel opportunities

27 October 2021

The increasing interest in using biomass instead of fossil fuels has finally woken up the New Zealand forestry and agricultural sectors says the Bioenergy Association in its recent newsletter. Brian Cox, executive officer of the associations says “the opportunities for additional revenue from residuals as a fuel for stationary heat, as a feedstock for producing renewable gases, and as a feedstock for producing transport biofuels has finally woken up the forestry and agricultural sectors. There is an increasing and growing awareness of the opportunities for additional revenue from residuals and biomass that otherwise would be wasted or sold for a low financial return”.

“Recent enquiries from some manufacturers for supply of biomass fuel have resulted in a number of new forestry and agricultural interests coming forward. While many of these potential biomass suppliers have not previously been solid biofuel suppliers the increasing demand for biomass has got them interested in this market” says Brian Cox.

In some regions the total demand for biomass for stationary heat would be around 14% of their total plantation forest production so this new market is manageable and is also within the 15-20% of their production that is currently wasted. These volumes are easily achievable and can be additional to their existing business.”

“In agriculture a number of farmers are realising that they can use the 6-9% of their farm which is not productively used for the growing of biomass. These are the slopes of gullies, shelterbelts, riparian strips, and erosion control which can produce biomass that is suitable for processing into being a solid biofuel”.

Biomass is available throughout the country so investment in distributed transport biofuel production facilities will occur near the sources of biomass. Some investors are also considering planting their own future sources of biomass.

With the expanding focus on future sources of biomass additional to existing land uses, plus new plantings with a view to future domestic uses, there is no doubt that there will be an on-going balance between demand and supply of biomass.

“However, to ensure that having the right biomass in the right place, at the right time, will require good information from those who want biomass, to those who can supply biomass, right out to 2050. Communication between potential buyers and potential suppliers will be very important.”

The location and organised aggregation of woody bio fuels to meet the growing demand for industrial process heat users is a focus for the Residues to Revenues 2022 event that will be running for bio-fuel producers on 9-10 March 2022. Full details on the programme can be found on the event website.

Source: BANZ