NZ forestry waste could create biofuel industry

File image/SunLive.

The New Zealand Forest Service is laying the foundations for a new biofuels industry, that could turn forestry waste into a potential billion-dollar industry.

As well as the research Te Uru Rākau – NZ Forest Service are working on a business case with help from global investment experts Indufor Asia Pacific.

“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 Te Uru Rākau director of sector investments Jason Wilson.

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

“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, he says.

“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.

“The business case will involve significant analysis and will underpin a core part of the Industry Transformation Plan 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 utilise 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 six transformation plans launched by government, aimed at growing more innovative industries in New Zealand and lifting the productivity, sustainability, and inclusivity of the 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 Jason.

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