NZ forest service explores biofuels as a major opportunity for New Zealand

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service is laying the foundations for a new biofuels industry, to turn forestry waste into a potential billion-dollar industry, and working on a business case with help from global investment experts Indufor Asia Pacific Ltd.

Establishing a biofuels industry in New Zealand will require significant investment, so we’re moving ahead with developing the business case for this investment, says Jason Wilson, director of sector investments at Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service.

Mr Wilson says research shows a biofuels industry would help New Zealand to meet its emissions targets and provide jobs and new industries in our regional centres.

“Tackling climate change is an ongoing priority for Government. Investigating the potential to manufacture biofuels from New Zealand wood could supercharge our efforts and deliver significant returns for our forestry and wood processing sector, rural communities, and economy.”

Biocrude, liquid biofuels and solid biofuels are made from the residues of trees milled in New Zealand and can help replace traditional fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum.

“A key focus for the forestry and wood processing sector is maximising the economic and environmental benefits from wood through innovation, as it’s a renewable and sustainable asset,” says Mr Wilson.

“The business case will involve significant analysis and will underpin a core part of the Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) for forestry and wood processing currently in development. The ITP will include a focus on the emerging bioenergy role the sector can play.”

The ITP aims to better use New Zealand’s forest resources by increasing domestic processing, and a draft of the plan is expected later this year for the sector to consider. It is one of 6 transformation plans launched by Government, aimed at growing more innovative industries in New Zealand and lifting the productivity, sustainability and inclusivity of our key sectors.

“We’re excited by the potential of producing biofuels in New Zealand, and we are committed towards working with the forestry and wood processing sectors to explore this opportunity, which could have lasting benefits for New Zealand,” says Mr Wilson.

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service has contracted global experts Indufor Asia Pacific Ltd (Indufor) to develop viable business cases for producing biocrude and biofuels in New Zealand.

Indufor Asia Pacific Ltd will work with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, a large Finnish research, development, and innovation institution.

Indufor and VTT have in-depth experience in providing advice to governments, investors, and businesses that are seeking investment or transformational change in the forest and wood processing sector.

Source:  Ministry for Primary Industries

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog