NZ Trees May Fuel Transport


If the forest industry has its way, within 30 years, nearly a third of NZ’s transport fuels would come from energy crops and materials that are currently wasted. And so could more than a quarter of our energy needs.

“Wood pellet burners are growing rapidly in popularity and companies around the country are increasingly using biodiesel in their vehicle fleets. But these are just the first baby steps of what will become one of the country’s biggest industries, Bioenergy Association chairman Rob Mallinson said in releasing a bioenergy strategy.

The strategy is being pushed by he Bioenergy and Forest Owners Associations and has the support of the key organisations involved in the forestry sector.

Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes said New Zealand has large tracts of land suitable for growing energy crops.

Rob Mallinson said the processing plants needed to convert fuel crops and wastes from pine plantations into vehicle fuels will alone require an investment of around $6 billion.

“It will provide new and profitable income streams for land and forest owners and new sources of sustainable energy for consumers and industries. But at present, it barely features on the national radar.

“Undoubtedly, bioenergy in its various forms will one day replace much of the fossil energy we use today, but in the short-term fossil fuels are cheaper. We therefore need leadership from government to give investors and customers the confidence they need to commit to new technologies and fuels.

“With the right policies, 25 per cent of New Zealand’s energy needs will come from biofuels by 2040, giving us energy resilience as well as a real competitive advantage. Without them, we estimate the figure will be less than 10 per cent, including very little transport fuel.

“On the reasonable assumption that by 2040 fossil fuels will be very much more expensive than they are now – and their use much less acceptable in overseas markets – the failure to capitalise on our outstanding bioenergy opportunities would cost our country dearly.”

Do we really want to cut down more trees to keep the SUVs going?




  1. karl says:

    This actually worries me a lot, on the order of lignite fuel becoming popular - NZ is already a country heavily degraded by industrial farming (just look at about every second hill - those terraces aren’t historical Maori work, they are erosion due to lack of ground cover). I wonder what will happen if fuel becomes so expensive that farmers and logging companies can suddenly make a massive buck out of this, much more than they do already with commercial forests and food crops.


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