For New Zealand and Australia, it’s now been over eight years since the Forest Industry Engineering Association has run a wood residues programme aimed specifically at the forest products industry. Residues to Revenues 2022 will run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 9-10 March 2022. It will also be available to companies from outside the country through live or virtual streaming of the event.
To cater for the current demand for information relating to harvesting, handling and transporting of wood residues, a one-day conference along with exhibitions and practical workshops have been set up for forest owners, sawmills and wood manufacturing operations. It’s aimed at providing local businesses with a better understanding of the real value of energy tied up in wood fibre – and the opportunities open to it in supplying this new product to the market.
Demand for wood residues in New Zealand at the moment is booming. And for supply, the volume of forest residues, bin wood, offcuts left on landings, short length or malformed logs that won’t meet MDF, pulp-mill or chip export log specifications and sawmill residues in most regions continues to climb – particularly as wood harvest levels increase, extraction systems improve and the prices being offered for the residues or wood wastes streams rise.
Announcements from large scale industrial heat or energy users switching from using fossil fuels to renewables, including bio-fuels, are occurring almost every month now. Fonterra’s wood pellet boiler at its Te Awamutu plant was officially opened in August, an investment of some NZ$11 million. The next to switch from coal to biomass is their Stirling cheese plant in Otago. It’s the third significant fuel switching project the co-op’s undertaken in as many years and there’s still more to come. They’re aiming to get out of coal altogether by 2037.
In Southland, Danone Nutricia are currently installing a new NZ$30 million wood fuel boiler. They’re converting it from gas. For the forest industry in the lower South Island, the Fonterra and Danone operations alone are going to require an additional 55,000 tonnes of sustainable wood fuel per year to be supplied. Add to this, other significant conversions from other manufacturing sites, milk operations and hospitals are also being discussed.
What it means is that forest owners, those involved in logging operations and those with surplus waste from sawmilling and wood manufacturing operations are looking to satisfy this current and projected future demand. The industry is now weighing up the economics. After a decade of inaction, wood residues are now really starting to stack up financially. Options for harvesting, handling, transporting and the organised delivery of wood residues from commercial forest operations and wood processing plants are seriously being explored. Similar moves are also afoot also in other regions across the country.
As part of the Residues to Revenues 2022 event, case studies of early adopters of in-field chipping and delivery systems are going to be outlined. Successful systems being employed from outside this region will be showcased along with some innovative business models that have been adopted elsewhere, both within Australasia and internationally, to ensure that the suppliers of bio-fuels are able to provide a timely and consistent quality fuel to these larger end users.
The March 2022 event will include a one-day conference, a pre-conference in-field chipping showcase where new technologies for processing forest slash, logging residues and stump wood will be outlined by major equipment suppliers from around the world. A practical post conference workshop run by the Bioenergy Association will also look more closely at the quality and delivery requirements for wood fuels to larger scale industrial heat and energy plant users.
Further information on this wood residues event can be found on the event website, www.woodresidues.events