17 Oct 2014

Biofuel technologies under the spotlight

4:37 pm on 17 October 2014

Ready to go and emerging wood-based biofuel technologies are under the spotlight at a conference in Rotorua today.

Forest owners, harvesters and processors as well as scientists, marketers and financial advisers are among those attending the conference to tap into the latest information on biofuel options that could complement traditional wood products.

An artist's impression of Z Energy's proposed biofuels plant at Wiri.

An artist's impression of a commercial biofuels plant that Z Energy is planning to build at Wiri near Auckland. Photo: Supplied

Bioenergy Association executive officer Brian Cox said internationally, the production of transport biofuels and other products from wood is gaining momentum.

"We've got a vision of 30 percent of our transport fuel coming from biomass and waste by 2040 and that's achievable. The key thing is having a user who can commit to buying wood fuel. At the moment this tends to be for the production of heat, so that's dairy factories, meat works and large heat users, but also hot houses and others who can move to that now," he said.

"But beyond that in the transport biofuels will be someone like interisland ferries or KiwiRail who can use biofuel in their engines or ferries, which requires a minimal amount of processing for them to be able to use it. They use a heavy oil that requires a lot less processing than petrol or diesel, and at the conference we have interisland ferries and KiwiRail speaking about how they could use these fuels if they were made available."

Mr Cox said global demand for bioproducts was expected to grow by more than 12 percent over the next five years and will reach $700 billion in 2018.

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