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Bioenergy conference highlights opportunities

14 May 2013

Bioenergy conference highlights opportunities

A one-day conference in Rotorua this Thursday (16 May), supported by Federated Farmers, will take land owners through the economics of bioenergy, which could become a big part of New Zealand’s energy future.

“The biofuels versus food issue is not relevant to New Zealand. We are looking at biofuels, plus food. This can be a win-win for farmers,” explains Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers energy spokesperson.

“It is not about replacing sheep and cattle with biomass crops, but about growing these crops while also harnessing the organic waste of our sheep and cattle, or our wood harvest waste.

“Biofuels in Europe and the United States are generally produced from specifically grown crops, such as rapeseed oil or sugarcane, to produce bioethanol; in New Zealand we have the opportunities to extract usable energy from existing biological agricultural and horticultural waste.

“Federated Farmers supports the Bioenergy Association of New Zealand’s belief that waste biological matter from farming and forestry offers many opportunities to extract valuable energy.

“This one-day bioenergy conference is about is getting energy from horticultural and agricultural waste - something we are not exactly short of in New Zealand.

“While bioenergy can be used for biofuels, the focus is about harvesting the waste stream from current land uses for a range of energy products.

“The Bioenergy Association of New Zealand believes between 15-20 percent of the wood from harvested trees is left behind as waste. This waste, along with animal and horticultural waste, could become an invaluable new source of income for the primary industries.

“Wood for bioenergy uses could come from farm forests, shelter belts or even purpose grown tree crops.

“For pastoral farmers and horticulturalists, it is about integrating bioenergy solutions which turn waste into a resource into their daily farm management practices.

“In some situations, the opportunities for biomass-to energy are already economic where the economies of scale exist. Federated Farmers expects these economic scales to lower as technology advances.

“Federated Farmers will have staff at the conference and we are pleased to be one of its supporters. The conference aims to present practical solutions to farmers, horticulturalists, foresters and Maori Trusts.

“More details can be found by clicking here or downloading the registration form,” Mr Crofoot concluded.

ENDS

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