7 Nov 2013

Bioenergy group looks to farms for wood fuel supply

3:05 pm on 7 November 2013

The Bioenergy Association is looking to farmers and other land owners to plug gaps in the supply of wood for large scale energy use.

The association says there is a lot more scope for manufacturers like Fonterra to use wood instead of coal and gas for heating and steam generation.

But executive officer Brian Cox says for that to happen, the supply of wood fuel needs to be quality controlled and reliable.

He says with the cost of coal, a large number of heat plant owners are looking at using wood fuel, for example Fonterra and meat processors.

Mr Cox says a recent example is Fonterra having to gain consents for another coal mine which only has a life of six to seven years.

He says the issue is whether the company can move to wood fuel at the end of that period and there are adequate amounts of wood available in the right locations that could be used as fuel.

Mr Cox says the key issue holding it back is getting people who have ownership of that wood fuel together to contract to those buyers.

He says it needs to be the right grade and presented correctly.

Mr Cox says farmers and other land owners with wood lots or shelter belts could help to meet the shortfall in the supply of wood fuel and that is the focus of a bioenergy conference in Rotorua on Thursday.

He says the Bioenergy Association is launching an accreditation scheme for wood fuel suppliers at the conference, along with revised guidelines for classifying the quality of wood fuel.