Developing a NZ Bioeconomy is 20 Years Overdue

It is time to get serious about using New Zealand’s capability and expertise in waste management, forestry, farming, wood processing and horticulture, if New Zealand is to build economic resilience and achieve a low carbon NZ economy by 2050, says Grant Dunford, Bioenergy Association Board member.

Through use of existing biomass and organic waste New Zealand can build economic growth, employment, business resilience and sustainability in its regions while replacing 92 PJ per annum of fossil fuels and avoiding 8.6 Mt CO2 -e pa of greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

“Biomass energy has a unique point of difference from other forms of renewable energy as it contributes widely to the New Zealand economy. The use of biomass for energy (bioenergy) provides opportunities for a fundamentally different least cost approach to achieving a low carbon economy compared with all other renewable energy forms.”

While the processing of biomass and waste can produce a wide range of revenue streams from application of heat; generation of electricty; use as transport fuel; extraction of chemicals; manufacture of bio-based materials; use as organic fertiliser; and purification of water, providing many opportunities for regional economic growth and employment.

It could:

• Replace fossil fuel use for electricity, heat and transport

• Generate heat for industry, processing / manufacture, civic and commercial applications

• Contribute to perpetual carbon storage (remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere)

• Provides significant new business opportunities, and underpins the sustainable transition of our land use in forestry, farming and agriculture

• Address environmental issues arising from land use (eg pastoral intensification, reducing discharges to waterways etc.

• Offset increasing treatment and landfill costs by processing municipal and organic waste to create revenue and avoid rate hikes in communities.

To realise the potential a paradigm shift in thinking and action at National and Local Government levels is needed.

Current wood supply chains are adequate to meet conversion to biomass heating fuel demand

To progress we need:

  • Government to lead and set specific targets for the removal of fossil fuels from its own boilers
  • Bio processing supply chains to be established for both supply and demand sides to ensure viability.
  • Municipal waste treatment plants to incorporate bio processing of organic waste in their upgrade plans.
  • National Policy and plans for zero organic waste to landfill by 2040.
  • Biofuel blends for transport fuels to be a part of any transitional initiatives for the oil and gas sectors.

Source: Bioenergy Association

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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