New tool for solid biofuel regional supply planning

20 September 2021

Over half of New Zealand’s process heat demand is met by burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas, and in 2016 burning fossil fuels to supply process heat emitted 8.3 million tonnes of CO2e or about 28% of New Zealand’s overall energy emissions.Some of these emissions can be reduced by redesigning the underlying processes, but decarbonising the remaining heat needs will require switching from fossil fuels to low-emission fuels, such as wood fuels in boilers or electricity in electric boilers or heat pumps.

These changes will have implications. Switching to electricity will increase loads on electricity networks, at both the distribution and transmission levels, and may require investments to increase capacity. The cost of switching to wood fuels will depend on fuel availability, which varies regionally, and on the amount of competition for the resource.

To help inform these decisions and better plan for the future, EECA has developed a new tool, The Regional Heat Demand Database, which can be used to identify where the opportunities for replacing fossil fuels used for stationary heat with low emission fuels (biomass and electricity) are located across New Zealand. The searchable database can be segmented by region, type of application and possible fuel type. So far it only includes data for Southland and Canterbury. The information will assist equipment suppliers see the opportunity for their business.

The tool will also assist solid biofuel suppliers to plan future regional supply requirements so that there is the right biomass, in the right place, at the right time, over the period out to 2050. Initial analysis shows the quantities of fuel which will be required in each region. This database is the most recent comprehensive and holistic assessment of heat demand across New Zealand and making this available in a timely manner will enable decisions to be made to change course to enable fuel switching and decarbonisation.

For more information on the new tool, Click here

Source : BANZ Bioflash Newsletter, EECA