Image

Another major NZ industrial plant switches to biomass

1 September 2021

Nelson-based company biomass fuel company Azwood Energy is building a production facility near Milton to service a burgeoning biomass fuel industry. Azwood Energy general manager Brook Brewerton confirmed that one of its clients will be Danone Nutricia New Zealand, near Clydevale, which is building a biomass boiler.

Progress on the new plant was fairly advanced, he said. A Danone spokesman said the plant would need 35,000 tonnes of sustainable wood fuel per year; that is four to five 30-tonne truck-and-trailer units per day to make its infant milk formula.

The new boiler, expected to release its first head of steam in the next few months, would run on hog fuel, a type of biomass fuel made from chopped-up, unprocessed waste debris, bark and organic matter, which came from commercial forestry. Brewerton said Azwood would also be distributing a range of wood fuels to its other Otago clients and would employ about five full-time staff at the new facility.

The Bioenergy Energy Association of New Zealand, to which Azwood is accredited, had long identified Otago as the ideal growing environment for wood fuel, with at least 125,085ha of planted production forestry in the region to feed the growing biomass industry.

Danone biomass boiler project engineer Ben Fisher (27), of Wellington originally, was representative of the diverse team working on the NZ $30 million boiler, which had brought in expertise from all around the world. Having grown up in the suburbs but having a keen bent for sustainability in engineering, he was enjoying the rural isolation of Clydevale and abundant forestry.

“We partnered with Azwood, a local company that makes biomass fuel. The fuel needed to be sourced from sustainably-managed forestry within a 50km range of the site. It is mostly radiata that is grown here, but so long as it is coming from a sustainably managed forest it can be used as fuel in our boiler.”

“The wood has to be local because of sustainability,” Danone’s sustainability communication and stakeholder relations manager Helene de Laguiche, said. “Up until now we’ve run on lpg. Five years ago, we started looking at cleaner energy, and wood-burning energy because of the availability in New Zealand was the obvious choice.”

“In Europe, bio-ash, what was left over from burning, was put to use. “There is a very niche market in New Zealand with opportunities to use it, for instance, in roading, but also in cement and compost. Once our biomass boiler is running, we will analyse the bio-ash produced from the boiler and look for the most appropriate way to repurpose it locally.”

The quality would need to be tested, but was definitely something to consider for the future “to complete the sustainability cycle of biomass”. Overall, the transition to biomass at Danone would create about 10 additional jobs from supply to extra staff to feed the boiler.

The Finnish-made boiler was manufactured by KPA Unicon and the only one of its type in New Zealand. It was tailor-made for the operation at Danone, which would be the largest dairy plant to run solely on biomass in New Zealand.

Danone NZ is also leading the way within Danone, behind its Brazil and Ireland plants, which have already reached the absolute carbon-neutral goal. “It’s about sharing knowledge and creating partnerships with other industries,” De Laguiche said. “There’s no secrets. It’s not something that we would want to keep to ourselves.”

Photo: Danone biomass boiler project engineer Ben Fisher and the company’s sustainability communication and stakeholder relations manager Helene de Laguiche. Photo / Mary-Jo Tohill

Source: Otago Daily Times

Read More
Image

Kenworth unveils futuristic SuperTruck 2

Kenworth showcased its SuperTruck 2 demonstrator vehicle at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Las Vegas last month, a project developed over six years in collaboration with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) SuperTruck programme. The aim of the project ...
Read more
Image

Key drivers to decarbonise heavy transport fleets

The industry was buzzing once again for the Wood Transport & Logistics 2024 event that ran last week in Rotorua, New Zealand. Well over 200 forestry and log transport companies from across Australasia, America and Europe, came to Rotorua to ...
Read more
Image

Rocket Lab launches climate science satellites

Rocket Lab, a global leader in launch services and space systems, today launched the first of two back-to-back launches for NASA’s PREFIRE (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment) climate change-focused mission. ‘Ready, Aim, PREFIRE’ lifted-off from Rocket Lab Launch ...
Read more
Image

Hiringa launches hydrogen refuelling network

Taranaki-based green hydrogen developer Hiringa Energy has marked the opening of New Zealand’s first zero-emission green hydrogen refuelling network set to service heavy freight across the North Island. The initiative is the first of its kind in Australasia and was officially ...
Read more
Image

Lidar technology for scalable forest inventory

Evaluating the trade-offs between the various platforms. When considering Lidar technology for forest inventory, it is essential to evaluate the trade-offs of each platform. This article provides some pointers. There is a critical need for rapid, rigorous, reproducible and scalable ...
Read more
Image

Remote-controlled firefighting technology demoed

BurnBot, an innovative firefighting technology, has been successfully demonstrated in Incline Village, Nevada. These remote-controlled machines can quickly clear vegetation, reducing wildfire risk. In just 2-3 days, BurnBot cleared 75% of the vegetation on 22 acres – a task that would take ...
Read more
Image

Hyne Group further expands

The Hyne Group is now pleased to announce the further expansion of this new operating division, with the acquisition of Express Pallets and Crates (Express), based at Narangba near Brisbane. Express has been in operation for some 35 years, under the ownership and ...
Read more
Image

FWPA Report: Transforming softwood timber verification

Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) is pleased to share new research introducing biased position testing as a cost- effective and efficient method for the verification of structural softwood timber properties.  This innovative approach can unlock significant cost savings and improved efficiency ...
Read more
Image

Heli-saw to ‘transform’ tree-trimming around power lines

New Zealand’s electricity sector could be transformed by a radical new approach to keeping trees off power lines, says a King Country-based energy distributor. The Lines Company (TLC), based in Te Kūiti, has undertaken its first successful trial of the heli-saw – a ...
Read more