GROWING FORESTS OF BIOENERGY FUEL IN THE BACKYARD
[Photo caption - Woodhill Forest as photographed by GoRentals].
So here’s the deal: Half the ports in New Zealand are stacked with raw logs.This form constitutes half NZ’s wood export medium. No value is added after the hack down from the forrest stage. Still, raw logs earn $1.7 billion.
In liquid resources, NZ shipped off $8 billion of oil and petroleum products ($2b in refined petrol and diesel). The Marsden Point refinery’s capacity has been tanked to the gills for years now.
For every boat that arrives at Marsden, allegedly filled with Singaporean oil refinery cargo – one boat is headed to China, with raw logs. The value adds happen outside of New Zealand.
NZ had net debts of $147 billion or $33,000 per person. It’s a heavy ugly picture. Dumb, stupid, not very bright. We love paying interest on the debt to our banking friends at the tune of $10 billion (5% of the value of all the goods and services the NZ economy produced). Again, it reads like Dumb & Dumber - Jim Carey‘s sequel script.
No longer can NZ rely naively on foreign leaders opinions(most nation’s have their own woes to solve). Clearly, whatever these leaders have been saying anyway has not been working for New Zealand – with this debt remaining unchanged for too long. Different skill sets are needed. Green thinking scientists and creative entrepreneurs may be the ticket to ignite the Kiwi spirit of ingenuity that has always gone hand in hand with NZ’s slightly isolated geographical location. Many green thinking scientists want to do a James Cameron and live here, so that’s not too much of an issue.
What should be done with the 6 million tonnes of raw logs is the next logical step to think about. We are now reaching for the How To Produce Biofuels recipe books, our great grandmas never told us they’d developed. We’re looking at how to reduce imported oil bills, looking at restructuring our transport industry to guzzle up less fossil fuels too. We quite fancy the Madonna song, like a virgin, when it comes to altering our track record of fossil fuels abuse.
Enter Dr Richard Griffiths. Richard tinkers with bioenergy at North Carolina State University. International Paper was once his main boss. Ironically International Paper was a main shareholder in Carter Holt Harvey, the firm the sold off over 35,000+ hectares of NZ owned whenua (land) to Denmark, Liechenstein (total population 35,000), Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong in the last 13 months. I have a hate on for Carter Holt Harvey because they (and Graeme Hart did that) with no value add to NZ except to their own pockets. Ugh, now that kind of selfishness is totally ugly.
Anyway, Richard has involvement with the pulp and paper industry here – because Kiwis are so used to not thinking for ourselves the last 15 years. Thank goodness we have Richard, otherwise we’d forget to do it ourselves.
R&D always suffers in ‘get rich quick nationally owned asset sell offs,’ that are driven by banks who try and run countries and advise governments to sell a nations assets. Thankfully though, because of the fuel shortage in the globe, R&D in “second generation” biofuels has still occurred in the world. 2nd-gen biofuels start with ligno-cellulosic (woody) material – a different organic matter than edible plantlife such as corn or sugar.
Lignin is a problem. Nature ensured the wood’s carbohydrate wasn’t easily accessible. It is protected by a shield. However, lignin can be used to produce ethanol. Biofuel proponents want to break the shield down. Kraft pulp mills have been breaking it down for over a century, separating cellulose from lignin.
Mills come in all ranges of pricings. It all depends on how refined you want the refining of ethanol production to be with what you invest in ethanol producing mill technology. If you built a brand new pulp mill the export price of logs for the mills feedstock – would have to be market competitive to ensure an adequate ethanol production return on R.O.I. Log prices, thus determine ethanol prices.
The option value of wood pulp could improve a mills returns. If lignin useage is done smartly, even more the R.O.I’s prospects. $800 million worth paper is sent out from NZ each year from the pulp. Yet the cellulose content of a log isn’t utilized very well as yet.
Pulp is really long strings of sugars (think sugar cane). It needs to be hydrolysed, fermented then distilled into fuel ethanol. Cars can use ethanol to run.
More on this rather geeky ‘scientific process’ (that sounds more like beer brewing than forresty to energy conversion) in a bit.
Biofuel is so important because many countries freeze in winter and need biofuel to have lifegiving warmth in large cities of the world. It’s just not a transport industry situation.
News source: Brian Fallow.
[Photo caption - This Low NOx gasburner runs on an array of biofuel. Hamworthy Combustion has proven experience in firing Solid, Liquid or gaseous Bio-fuel or waste fuels using standard and bespoke equipment. Pine oil, Tallow, Palm oil (ew), Bio-diesel, Glycerine have all been fired successfully using the Hamworthy. Combustion range of atomisers. Solid wastes such as bark and sawdust can be used with Hamworthy combustion burners, and Low calorific gases such as mines gas Hydrogen etc can be combusted using the Hamworthy Combustion LCV gas burner too].
~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 9.4.12~