29 Jul 2013

Forestry biofuel project well timed - Bioenergy Assn

6:27 am on 29 July 2013

The Bioenergy Association says the latest primary growth partnership project, investigating the conversion of forestry waste into biofuels, is well timed.

The Government is paying half the cost of the $13.5 million Stump to Pump project which pulp and paper processor, Norske Skog is leading in partnership with Z Energy.

It will investigate the technical and economic feasibility of refining forestry leftovers such as sawdust, bark and harvesting residue into transport fuels, before deciding whether to build a test plant.

Two years ago, the Association criticised the Government for cutting a grant scheme for biodiesel production.

But executive director Brian Cox said the scale and timing of the forestry biofuel project make it a better bet and the project is getting closer to becoming economic.

He said it's now a matter of commercialising the technology, which is well proven, using natural resources for a market that already exists.

"Forty percent of our energy is in transport fuel, so that is a huge area that we need to be focusing on."

Mr Cox said this type of technology needs big players like Z Energy and Norske Skog to be involved.

Forest owners hope that a project designed to convert forest waste into liquid biofuels will provide growers and mills with extra income streams.