Sector news at home and abroad.......
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Issue 105 – September 2018

Welcome members and friends

The Productivity Commission report released today (see below) has confirmed that net-zero emission of greenhouse gases is achievable for New Zealand by 2050 and that biomass energy has a strong place in the portfolio of opportunities.

The report provides a high level policy framework and pathways for achieving net-zero emissions. The report does not provide detail on specific opportunities but outlines where the opportunities lie, what barriers need to be addressed and what policies would most assist movement along the pathways.

The report summarises the opportunities and benefits from biomass energy and supports its views by extensive reference to submissions from the Bioenergy Association and members.  Bioenergy gets a good coverage. The degree to which bioenergy is mentioned in the report reinforces the value of good advocacy and the value that the Association provides members through that advocacy.  However, it also reinforces the importance of an active membership which can ensure that good ideas are identified and promoted. We need to be an even stronger Association if we are to cement these ideas into action.

The report “illustrate(s) a disconnect between standard commercial decision-making and the public interest of avoiding dangerous climate change”.  The report identifies that “stable policy, emissions pricing and a fired-up innovation system are needed to change behaviour and promote investment. But, on their own, they will not be enough to maximise the opportunities of the transition for all New Zealanders. A range of other, specific, policies will also be required.” In other words the ETS will not be enough and Government will need complementary measures to assist and speed up the transition. This is what we have been saying for some time.

The report recommends a suite of policy reforms to help drive the transition and identifies where further work is required. These cover waste-to-energy; the use of anaerobic digestion; addressing perceptions on the availability of wood fuel; biofuels to assist reduce heavy transport emissions; improving discharges to water and air by use of bioenergy solutions; extracting valuable liquid and solid biofuel from forest residues;  the importance of switching from fossil fuels for process heat; and the necessity for leadership from Government with regard to its own opportunities to move from using fossil fuels.
The report provides a framework for action.  We now need to move to developing Action Plans and focusing on priorities.  Each of the Association’s Interest Groups needs to identify priority actions that will make a difference so that we can feed these into Government. If you are not already a member, but will benefit from a greater demand for bioenergy solutions then you need to become a member. It is only by collective action that we will make the most progress.

Brian Cox
Executive Officer

Bioenergy NZ, Australia & the Pacific

Low-emissions economy - Productivity Commission Inquiry 
The Productivity Commission has released its final report from its inquiry into a low-emissions economy for new Zealand.  The purpose of this inquiry was to identify options for how New Zealand could reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions through a transition towards a lower emissions future, while at the same time continuing to grow incomes and wellbeing.

Relevant sections of the report are set out below.

Opportunities for process heat GHG emission reductions through fuel switching across New Zealand 
The Productivity Commission in its inquiry into low emission pathways to get New Zealand to net-zero emissions identified that across all the pathways, achieving a net-zero target involves switching nearly all coal-fired and most gas-fired boilers to low-emissions fuels. In each of the pathways biomass and electricity displace fossil fuels and add significant new process heat supply by 2050. Most of this occurs in the food processing sector.
The report recognises the carbon neutrality of biomass fuels and that the technology using biomass to produce process heat is mature and doesn’t require research or development, unlike many other emission reduction opportunities.
The three main barriers identified by the inquiry to adopting biomass as a fuel source for process heat are costs (which includes transport and storage costs), incompatibility with existing heat plant, and concerns about the security of supply. The report addresses each of these and then notes that currently these are not stopping a number of biomass energy plant being installed instead of coal. (Ed - shows that they are issues to address and not real barriers)
Specific recommendations include:

  • EECA and MBIE should review existing initiatives related to information about fuel switching, co-firing, demand reduction and efficiency improvements for process heat, to minimise any information-related barriers to mitigation opportunities.
  • EECA and MBIE should consider a wider roll-out of policy initiatives to support the supply and use of biomass.
  • Government should take the lead in phasing out the use of coal and other fossil fuels for heating by limiting any future installation of fossil-fuel-powered heating systems in government buildings.

The report is available at and a short two-minute video explaining the findings of the inquiry is also available on the Productivity Commission’s website

See Carbon News article here -

Opportunities for GHG emission reductions through waste-to-energy  
The Productivity Commission inquiry into a low- emissions economy has identified greenhouse gas emissions reduction from waste as one of its six opportunity areas. The report provides a good overview of the sector and the opportunities for reducing methane emissions. The report notes that “Better methane management does not require the development of new technology. While technological improvements can make mitigation more efficient, emissions can be effectively avoided by existing technologies, such as landfill gas recovery or anaerobic digestion systems”.

A section in the report covers the opportunities for combusting waste biomass and treatment of organic waste through anaerobic digestion to produce biogas and fertiliser.
“Waste-to-energy provides an opportunity to reduce emissions by diverting waste from landfill and substituting for fossil fuels.  Anaerobic digestion (eg, at wastewater treatment plants) is a current cost-effective approach to reduce emissions, but the potential to incinerate waste (especially household waste) is less clear”.
The report notes that in comparison to other developed countries, New Zealand is unusual in not reducing its waste emissions over recent decades.  In most countries much of the waste emissions reduction can be attributed to policy intervention.  “New Zealand has a substantial policy deficit regarding emissions and waste.  In particular, specific, quantitative waste reduction targets were removed without an effective pricing regime to drive emissions reductions (either under the waste disposal levy or the NZ ETS emissions price).  This has seen New Zealand make minimal progress in reducing emissions, especially in contrast to other developed countries.”
The report notes that “A circular economy approach has significant potential to reduce waste emissions in New Zealand and drive the transition to a low-emissions economy by acting as a platform for innovation”.
Specific recommendations include:

  • The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) should ensure that its project to collect better waste data allows for the direct measurement or estimation of emissions-related data. This is to reduce the very large uncertainty about waste emissions, and to identify opportunities to reduce emissions in the future.
  • In principle, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) should be incentivised to reduce emissions. To enable the case to be assessed for including WWTPs into emissions pricing schemes, MfE and Local Government New Zealand should begin a project to improve measurement methodologies for WWTPs. Any inclusion of WWTPs into emissions pricing schemes should occur after relevant recommendations from the Department of Internal Affairs’ three waters review have been enacted.

Utilising biofuels to reduce New Zealand's GHG emissions from heavy transport  
The Productivity Commission inquiry into a low-emissions economy has identified that reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the heavy transport sector as one of the tough areas. Decarbonising emissions from trucks, buses, planes, trains and ships fleets is tougher than for the light vehicle fleet. The report identifies that these activities make up 6% of New Zealand’s total emissions, and an even greater share when emissions from international transport are included so making headway in this area is important.  “The main opportunities for decarbonising heavy transport emissions are electrification, substituting fossil fuels with liquid biofuels and biogas, and adopting hydrogen-fuelled vehicles”.
“Biofuels can play an important role in reducing emissions from the on-road heavy vehicle fleet, especially for long-haul and heavier tasks, due to the challenges with electrification”.
“Biofuels also offer among the most promising options for reducing marine and aviation emissions, including from international transport. Ships are particularly well-suited to biofuels, since marine fuel specifications are much more flexible and biofuels produce much less sulphur pollution. In addition, the revised MARPOL Annex VI regulations for pollution from shipping will increase the attractiveness of marine biofuels”.
The report also highlights the potential for gaseous biofuels to replace fossil fuels in road vehicles and ships.
“Biofuels can potentially deliver considerable emissions reductions across a range of transport modes, including aviation and shipping. New Zealand’s current production of biofuels is small. Drop-in technologies using non-food feedstocks (eg, wood-based sources) appear to be most promising opportunity for developing biofuels in New Zealand over the long term, but these are not yet commercially proven. Although biofuels tend not to be cost-competitive at current fossil-fuel prices, a higher emissions price in the NZ ETS would create a stronger incentive to develop and switch to biofuels”.

Project Officer (Bioenergy Research) sought for NSW
The NSW Department of Primary Industries Forestry Team is seeking a new staff member to undertake bioenergy research. It is a three year contract position based in Sydney.
The appointee will deliver overarching project management for multiple smaller research programs exploring electricity generation from renewable biomass sources
  • Coordinate the delivery of project milestones related to targeted research into bioenergy and electricity generation from biomass in NSW
  • Build and maintain collaborative relationships with stakeholders, partners and industry experts
  • Assist with the coordination, establishment and management of R&D trials to investigate the potential of woody energy crops in a range of locations
  • Assist with the preparation of scientific publications for policymakers, industry and other researchers
  • Regularly prepare project reports and updates for a wide range of key stakeholders
  • Undertake community forums, stakeholder meetings and industry presentations as required
  • Capture and manage key performance and statistical metrics and datasets  or
contact Fabiano Ximenes
[  ]

Enriva/Polytechnik complete Van Wyk Flowers biomass energy plant
This project came about due to an unexpected increase in gas price.  Located at Lundhurst just outside Melbourne, Van Wyk Flowers is a grower wholesaler and florist specialising in many varieties including roses, gerberas and lisianthus.  Their gas dependence stems from the fact that premium quality year-round flower production requires high-tech heated indoor growing environments. So, next to water, gas was fundamental to their commercial operations.

Read recent article -

A video of the new Polytechnik Biomass Energy 2.95MW waste to energy biomass plant at Van Wyk Flowers can be viewed here -

Otago wood energy opportunities get wide coverage
The interest in utilising the biomass fuel in Otago to replace coal for process heating is getting some momentum.  Since the report on opportunities was released the Accredited Wood Fuel Suppliers have been able to show why there is no shortage of biomass for fuel and that it can be consistently and reliably delivered.   
Read report here and 

Azwood Energy have also produced a news brochure on why forest biomass used to produce wood energy is carbon neutral
Queensland wants to stimulate waste-to-energy
The Queensland Government is setting aside $100 million in revenue from the incoming waste levy in a bid to move towards a European model of turning waste into energy,
The waste levy begins in January, 2019 at $70 per tonne for dumping general waste to landfill, aimed at curbing the transport of waste to Queensland from interstate.
Almost 40 affected councils have been promised advance payments to offset the cost of the levy in the initial years and prevent it from being passed on to ratepayers. Surplus revenue from the levy will be rolled out as grants of up to $5 million on a dollar-for-dollar basis to encourage the construction of new large-scale facilities and infrastructure.
The Local Government Association of Queensland's (LGAQ) is developing a plan to have no waste sent to landfill by 2028 and said it believed councils could join together to build up to eight bio-gas power plants.
Auckland Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund open for applications
The next round of the Auckland Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund (WMIF) is now open until Sunday 30th September 2018.  Funding criteria, application guidelines and information about previously approved grants can be found here on the Auckland Council website. Applications must be made online via SmartyGrants, and a link through to the application portal will be accessible via the WMIF webpage once the funding round opens.
The September round will accept applications requesting grants of up to $50,000.

ARENA funds feasibility study wood waste biorefinery in New South Wales
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced up to $500,000 in funding to Boral Timber, a subsidiary of Boral Limited, to investigate the feasibility of building a ‘second-generation’ biofuels refinery using the waste sawmill residues from the Boral Timber Hardwood Sawmill at Herons Creek near Port Macquarie.
Under the $1.2 million study, Boral will explore the technical and financial viability of establishing a biorefinery using innovative technology, which would be located near the Herons Creek sawmill.
Sewage sludge to jet fuel
The masses of sludge left over from sewerage and wastewater processing could be refined into renewable diesel and aviation fuel, under an ambitious plan announced by ARENA and Southern Oil Refining.  Led by Southern Oil Refining, the project has set out to create crude oil from biosolids at their plant near Gladstone in Queensland, which can then be further refined.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing up to $4 million to get the project off the ground, seeing potential to make use of a waste product while also decarbonising the transport fuel sector.
Costing a total of $11.8 million, the project’s centrepiece is a demonstration scale hydrothermal liquefaction reactor which will convert wastewater solids into biocrude, which can then be refined further into diesel or even jet fuel.

More here
Auckland signs up to war on waste declaration
 Mayor Phil Goff has pledged Auckland Council’s commitment to the C40 war on waste declaration. The pledge is part of the C40 organisation’s Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration, signed by the leaders of 23 cities. Leading up to the Global Climate Action Summit, C40 urged cities to step up their climate action and ambition. The high ambition Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration was developed by C40 and the city of San Francisco, in consultation with other C40 cities in the Waste to Resources network.
The cites that have signed the declaration are: Auckland, Catalonia, Copenhagen, Dubai, London, Milan, Montreal, Navarra, New York City, Newburyport, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rotterdam, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington D.C.
Signing the declaration, iter alia, commits Auckland to implementing source-separated collection for food scraps and other organics and treatment infrastructure that recovers nutrients, energy and contributes to the restoration of carbon storage capacity in soils.

Forthcoming Events
WEBINAR: Approaches to gain trust in sustainability of bioenergy through credible governance
13 September 2018, IEA Bioenergy Webinar

IEA Bioenergy invites you to participate in an international webinar entitled, “Approaches to gain trust in sustainability of bioenergy through credible governance: Results from collaboration within IEA Bioenergy and other research networks”  presented by Inge Stupak and moderated by C.T. (Tat) Smith.

This webinar will be held on Thursday September 13, 2018 at 4:00 pm Central European Summer Time / 10:00 am Eastern Daylight Time / 2:00 pm Greenwich Mean Time. 

For more information and a description of the webinar, please see here -
WEBINAR: Evaluation of heat plant opportunities
25 September Webinar, Mike Suggate

Webinar to consider the draft Technical Guide 14 Best practice guidelines for life cycle analysis of heat plant projects. 
The workshop is to review the draft guide and discuss it prior to finalisation. 

You must register in order to connect to the GoToMeeting system. 
Registration and webinar details can be found here - 

A copy of the draft is available here -

SYMPOSIUM: Venice2018 
15-18 October 2018, Venice, Italy

The 7th International Symposium on energy from biomass and waste will be held at Scuola Grade Di San Giovanni Evangelista in Venice, Italy on 15-18 October 2018.

More here

CONFERENCE: Bioenergy Australia 2018 Conference
17 & 18 October, Brisbane, Australia

Bioenergy Australia are excited to reveal details of the Bioenergy Australia 2018 Conference.  "Bioenergy Strong 2018 - Driving Commercial Outcomes"  to be held on 17 & 18 October at the State Library of Brisbane.  A welcome reception on the evening of 16 October has been organised at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.
WEBINAR : Three demonstration wood energy applications
2pm, 28th November 2018, Rob Mallinson

A review of three recently installed wood energy heating applications has shown a number of aspects that worked well, or could have been done differently. These applications provide very good case studies and learning opportunities for anyone undertaking similar projects.
The three covered by the webinar are:
  • Community health centre - Ribbonwood Country Home, Tapanui, Otago
  • University Hall of Residence - Carrington College, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • Commercial nursery - Zealandia Horticulture, Christchurch
You must register in order to connect to the GoToMeeting system.  Registration and webinar details can be found here -
CONFERENCE:  Pan Pacific Fibre Value Chain Conference 2018 
4-7 December 2018, Rotorua, New Zealand

The Appita 2018 Annual Conference this year will be co-hosting the Pan Pacific Conference with their sister associations, in Rotorua, New Zealand from 4–7 December 2018.   The conference, named, 2018 Pan Pacific Fibre Value Chain Conference, will incorporate the Bioproducts Manufacturing Symposium, Papermakers Forum, Maintenance Forum, the new Young Professionals Network Forum, Technical Sessions and much more. 
Appita would like to encourage and welcome Bioenergy Association members to submit Technical Papers, and advise that the closing date for abstracts is the 9th July 2018.  Below is the Call for Papers brochure reflecting the categories for the technical papers as well as all of the information needed to submit a paper. All papers will need to be submitted on line at

View Call for Papers


International Bioenergy News

Bio-oil and bio-crude analytical methods validation
A new 
IPL ( is a participating lab in the IEA Bioenergy Task 34 analytical Round Robin analysing bio-oils and bio-crudes.
There are around 20 labs internationally which have shown interest in this Round Robin and IPL are participating to extend their knowledge of these sample types. IPL advise that “As a biofuels testing specialist, it is good for us to be part of any technological advancement and help analyse and validate bio-oil/bio-crude analysis method”. The objective of the current Round Robin is to provide information on the characterisation of bio-oils/bio-crudes produced from biomass via different technologies. The information that will be provided will help identify the best methods to analyse heteroatoms with the hope of developing a new standard (or a variation of).
On this occasion, IPL will be analysing 9 samples for Sulphur, Nitrogen and water content. The sample include bio-oil made by fast pyrolysis of wood, bio-crude made by hydrothermal liquefaction of wood and algal feedstock.
Previous Round Robins have included assessment of lignin pyrolysis and evaluation of viscosity measurements and the accelerated aging test. An improved accelerated aging test for evaluating bio-oil stability using a liquid bath heating system for better controlled atmospheric systems has now been tested at VTT and is described here

Facilitating a future green gas grid through the production of renewable gas
A new report published by IEA Bioenergy Task 37 is entitled ‘GREEN GAS: Facilitating a future green gas grid through the production of renewable gas’. The report explores the various substrates and technologies for green gas production, along with how much natural gas can be replaced by green gas in various EU countries. As highlighted by the report, biomethane is very flexible in its application, more so than other renewable sources of energy, as it can be a source of electricity, heat or transport fuel. The role of Power-to-Gas, converting surplus renewable electricity into methane, allowing long-term and affordable storage via transformation to a gas energy carrier, is also investigated.

More here -

The role of AD in the circular economy
Task 37 has released a report that summarises the multidisciplinary role of biogas production which is the real strength of this technology. Sustainable biogas systems include processes for treatment of waste, for protection of environment, for conversion of low-value material to higher-value material, for the production of electricity, heat and of advanced gaseous biofuel. Biogas and anaerobic digestion systems are dispatchable and as such can facilitate intermittent renewable electricity.  Hence, the biogas plant is the hub in the future circular economy. The intimate relation of AD with circular economy is exemplified through four case-studies from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

More here -

Integrated biogas systems
An IEA Bioenergy Task 37 brochure  summarises a number of local applications of anaerobic digestion  towards integrated sustainable solutions. Case studies, examples of technical solutions, concepts, and strategies, which pertain to sustainable biogas production, are provided. The case stories demonstrate that there is no ‘ideal’ integrated solution, as each anaerobic digestion application has different feedstocks available, constraints and end products.

More here -

Biogas issues at a glance
IEA Bioenergy Task 37 has released a number of short publications on a variety of interesting biogas issues including governance of environmental sustainability, methane emissions from biogas plants, green gas and local applications of biogas. The leaflets highlight in few words the major messages of the topic under discussion.

More here -

Bioenergy Knowledge Centre
Resources in the Bioenergy Knowledge Centre can be accessed free by members at
Not a member? - Then give us a call on 0274 771 048 or email us at to discuss your needs.
View the latest resources added to the BKC below

Case Studies
CASE STUDY 06:  Wood chip heating for a community health centre 
Ribbonwood Country Home, Tapanui, West Otago, NZ - prepared by Living Energy with funding from EECA, June 2018

An examination of the deployment of a small-scale wood chip boiler at a rural medical facility in West Otago, the potential risks involved, how the risks were managed and the outcome.
More here -

CASE STUDY 07:  Wood chip heating for a University Hall of Residence
Carrington College, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ - prepared by Living Energy, June 2018
An examination of the deployment of twin small-scale wood chip boilers to heat a University Hall of Residence, the Business Case, and the experience so far.

More here -

CASE STUDY 08:  Biomass heating for a commercial nursery / glasshouse
Zealandia Horticulture Ltd, Christchurch, NZ - prepared by Living Energy, June 2018
An examination of the deployment of two medium scale biomass boilers to heat a large horticulture facility, and the benefits delivered.

More here

WEBINAR:  Sampling and testing solid biomass fuels
presented on 21 August 2018 by Ben Rumsey, CRL Energy
Ben outlined the process of sampling that CRL Energy recommend and how they test wood samples sent to them. He discussed the testing methods and how to interpret the resulting report.

More here -

REPORT: Trees for steep slopes
a July 2018 report supported by forestgrowers commodity levy

This report provides information on best practice, identifies the gaps in knowledge and sets the scope for the future to improve environmental outcomes from plantation forestry on steeplands.  The report lists a variety of alternative species available that could drive different harvest practices and improve economic and environmental outcomes.

View the report here - 

REPORT: Large process heat users and energy efficiency in New Zealand
a July 2018 report prepared by PwC for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

This report is about decision-making processes around energy efficiency and carbon emissions-reducing technologies and practices.

"Enviro-Mark Solutions, the Bioenergy Association of New Zealand and the Energy Management Association of New Zealand were raised as key actors that help organisations with their optimal use of energy and carbon emissions." extract from Business Investment Decision Making 

View the report here - 

Frequently asked questions about wood energy: 

  • WWE24-5 Does the combustion of wood produce a low level of emissions?  The combustion of wood produces carbon dioxide, water and heat.  When wood burns, oxygen and sugar molecules disappear, and they are replaced by carbon dioxide and water molecules.  Leaving only ashes that consist of wood's minor components that remain solid and do not burn.  More here -
  • WWBA Fact Sheet: The carbon neutrality of biomass from forests.  The use of forest biomass is carbon-neutral, because the carbon contained in wood originates from the atmosphere and it is released to the atmosphere by wood decay or by combustion.  Before a tree can be burned it has to grow by absorbing carbon from the atmoshphere.  More here -
The full list of frequently asked questions can be found here -
Otago wood energy project scoping study
The purpose of this study is to develop a collaborative regional project (Wood Energy Otago Project) that will assist in reducing greenhouse gas reductions and leverage significant Central Government funding into the Otago Region.

Read report here -
Improved promotion opportunities for Members
Reminder - work with us to promote your business

Contribute to growing the sector and setting best practice standards
The Association is a collective of people who believe that by working as a group we can make more progress than by acting individually. A quarter of membership fees is a contribution to a pool of money to fund activities to grow the sector and develop best practice standards.  If you want to work with others to ensure that bioenergy solutions contribute to a sustainable future you should join the Association. 

Support to grow your business
The Association provides individual and confidential support to its members to assist them grow their business. If you have a bioenergy related matter where you would like assistance contact the Executive Officer.  This could be related to the market, support for individual proposals or discussion with an independent person the business case for a proposal.
Extend your profile through workshops and webinars
Participate in Association hosted webinars and workshops to extend your profile and your network of others in the sector.  As a webinar speaker you can extend your network of contacts.  If you have a topic which you would like to lead a discussion on contact the Executive Officer who will assist you prepare the idea for a webinar.  As a member this is free exposure to hundreds of potential attendees you wouldn't otherwise reach.

News and advertising of products and services
Members are welcome to provide news for the Bioflash.  The Bioflash is sent to around 900 recipients across the sector each month.  If you have a product or service or have participated in a project you would like to shout about then find the news angle and we will share it with hundreds of readers of the Bioflash.

Contact an Expert
Members are listed in a Contact an Expert directory. Each member has an associated profile page where NZ and Australian specific information, case studies, contact details etc are set out. The size of the profile depends on membership levels - Silver and Gold Members get a larger profile.  See examples here

Members should:
  • check their online company profile - are your profiles upto date and nd relevant to the Australasian markets?
  • check your online project case studies - do we have them?
  • are the projects you have been involved with listed in the Bioenergy Facilities Directory?
  • is your expertise appropriately described?
Members may now also advertise brands and products through advertising on the website.
  • advertising - the new sites have dedicated advertising space - contact us  for more.

Promotion of products and services
The suite of Association websites provides opportunities to improve promotion of members' products and services.

Members are able to promote products in the equipment catalogues on the relevant website. A number of products listings are free to members according to the level of membership.

Contact to have your profiles updated or replaced.   Also ask us about advertising packages and rates.

The association has set up discussion groups on LinkedIn. These are for members to communicate more widely with the public.  Join the discussion group  

Bioenergy Association welcomes news, advertising and articles from members.
Contact the
 Executive Officer.

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