Australiasia focus on Bioenergy and Biofuel Developments

(Sourced in part from AFPA Canopy Newsletter Edition 109)

New Forests and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (“CEFC”) have announced that they have jointly executed a collaboration agreement to finance new bioenergy and biofuel developments. The new investments could include combined heat and power projects or renewable fuels projects featuring biodiesel or syngas associated with forestry investments in regional Australia.

New Forests’ Managing Director, David Brand, said, “This is an opportunity to diversify Australian markets for timber, turn waste material into energy, and create new jobs and investment in rural Australia. We see biomass based energy and liquid fuels as an area of substantial potential for growth, and an opportunity that could rival the size of traditional timber markets in the next ten or twenty years.”

CEFC CEO, Oliver Yates, said “This is an excellent demonstration of how the CEFC can work with the forestry industry to enable bioenergy projects that will fulfil the potential for the industry to convert its waste products into a valuable renewable energy source. Investment in bioenergy can help reduce carbon emissions, lessen the reliance on traditional electricity and has the potential to boost productivity through reduced energy and operating costs.”

Further to this the New Zealand government is putting over $A6 million into a project to investigate producing biofuel from forestry waste.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says the project could be a game changer for New Zealand. "If the technology can be proven and commercialised, the economic benefit over the next 20 to 25 years is estimated at an annual increase in GDP (gross domestic product) of up to $NZ1 billion and the creation of 1200 jobs".

“The biofuel plant that we’re investigating could potentially process around 50 000 tonnes of forest waste per annum and cost in the order of $80-$100 million,” says Peter McCarty of Norske Skog. “Such a plant would take the industry to the next level in its goal of commercialising this new technology."