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Major Wood Residues Event announced for 2023

22 March 2023

It was eight years since the Forest Industry Engineering Association had run a wood residues programme aimed specifically at those supplying biofuels, the forest products industry.

The wood residues event ran in July 2022. As evidenced by the turnout, the timing was spot on. A record number of over 350 delegates, both in person and remotely, were involved. Not only were NZ companies in attendance but a strong contingent from across Australia also travelled into Rotorua and live links were set up for a record number of delegates drawn from across Europe and North America.

The event was timely. Low emissions energy to replace fossil fuels with electricity or solid biofuels was top of the Government’s agenda. Large industrial-scale heat and energy users throughout the country were firmly following the Government’s lead. The move to transition from fossil fuels was already well underway with significant conversions being made across the country. Major announcements on new investments were being made almost every month.

The focus for the 2022 event was on the burgeoning demand for biofuels. Forest owners, those involved in logging operations and those with surplus waste from sawmilling and wood manufacturing operations were looking to satisfy current and projected future demand. At a regional level, there were already discussions underway on how best forest owners and suppliers of wood residues could aggregate and coordinate the collection, transport and processing of woody biomass. As well as providing surety to those looking to convert from burning fossil fuels, there was a growing recognition that the prevailing supply model needed to change to progressively drive scale and supply chain reliability.

Residues2Revenues 2022 was described as a game breaker event in 2022 – for the practical information provided to those attending, for the business alliances that were able to be set up and for the networking. Feedback was, “don’t lose this momentum – more of the same for 2023 – make it bigger and better”.

The follow-up 2023 event for the industry has now been set up. It will run again in Rotorua, New Zealand with live virtual registrations set up for those unable to travel into the country. Residues2Revenues 2023 runs on 25-26 July 2023. Event details along with the programme information can be seen on the event website, www.woodresidues.events.

Momentum since the 2022 event has if anything, increased. There is an increasing demand for wood fuel from companies like Fonterra, from schools, hospitals and universities and from Genesis Energy, an electricity generation and retailing company who’re looking to replace coal with biomass fuel at the Huntley Power Station. The volume of wood now being sought in the form of residues is significant. A simple analysis by BANZ shows that the Huntley Power Station alone could encourage diversion of about a quarter of low-grade logs currently being exported.

Growing demand, as it was last year, from these large customers is providing real confidence to those in the supply chain to invest in new residue recovery practices. The economics of better-utilising forest residues, bin wood, offcuts left on landings, short length or malformed logs that won’t meet MDF, pulp-mill or chip export log specifications and sawmill residues are finally starting to stack up. Is the forestry sector in a position to supply? The answer from the industry and those attending the Residues to Revenues 2022 event was a resounding yes.

The Residues2Revenues 2023 event has been set up again to include practical pre and post-conference workshops, a conference and trade exhibitions. This enables delegates to maximise their time at the event. Details for Residues2Revenues 2023 can be found on the event website. For potential exhibitors, the place was booked out last year. Early expressions of interest for exhibitors to be involved this year can be made to FIEA’s Sponsorship & Marketing Manager, Gordon Thomson at gordon.thomson@fiea.org.nz or Tel: 027 275 8022. Further details on the event will follow.

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