Utilizing mill waste is a big contributor to a town's energy needs on the Macleay Valley

AST logo.pngThe NSW Government has recently announced an amendment to permit timber forest wastes and residues, often termed biomass, to be used for the generation of electricity.

This highly responsible approach is fully supported by the North Coast Forests Taskforce. “Any process which is environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial to this region is worthy of praise. This will again allow us to add to our production of renewable energy and thereby reduce dependence on non-renewable coal consumption. We will further assist Australia’s planned reduction in carbon dioxide emissions” said Taskforce Coordinator Trevor Sargeant.

Australian Solar Timbers (AST), based in Kempsey, has a long history in promoting renewable energy and is a Taskforce member. Managing Director, Dr Doug Head, noted that the AST mill consumed around 20% of the Macleay Valley electricity requirements of 10 Megawatts. “Studies we undertook a few years back showed that we could be self-sufficient in electricity by utilizing our residues using Australian developed innovative technology, plus we would produce bio char as a valuable agricultural bi-product that retained carbon for many decades whilst improving soils” he said. He also pointed out that such projects could be expanded by utilizing other forms
of carbon residues such as sorted Council carbon based landfill as occurs in Europe. AST could indeed supply the entire valley’s electricity requirements by centralizing carbon residues, all without cutting down one additional tree beyond our current heavily regulated program. It is entirely based around not wasting what is currently a wasted environmental opportunity. Good
environmentalism in fact” he concluded.

Biomass at AST is currently produced in the form of sawdust or dry wood shavings. Just utilizing this for electricity production at the AST mill would each year leave over 7000 tonnes of black coal in the ground undisturbed. It would also annually lock up over 3000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in bio char for around a century.According to the Clean Energy Council, biomass currently provides approximately 4% of Australia’s total primary energy supplies.
Media Contacts and further information
Dr Douglas Head 0408 856 022
Trevor Sargeant 0431 737 024