30 Aug 2011

Bioenergy industry talks with East Cape landowners

6:12 am on 30 August 2011

The bioenergy industry is talking to Maori landowners on the East Cape about planting trees for the next potential generation of biofuel.

The sector is excited about a fuel that can be created by extracting sugars from wood.

It's a complicated process, but basically involves chopping wood into small pieces, extracting sugars to make ethanol - which is then added to petrol.

The Bioenergy Association says growing trees for fuel is likely to be attractive to Maori land owners, because they often have land that is not being productively used.

Executive officer Brian Cox says he's talked to one East Coast landowner who plans to fell trees planted several decades ago, and is looking at what they might do with that land.

He says Maori are making early enquiries and they realise it's not an enterprise to be rushed into today, with trees taking 30 years to grow to maturity.

Mr Cox says in the future 30% of transport fuel could come from wood.

He says the biofuel industry is being driven by a thirsty aviation industry - which is asking where it will get its jet fuel from in the future.