As anticipated, the turnout to the second Residues2Revenues 2023 was a standout for the industry. Around 250 delegates attended the wood residues event, principally forest owners and managers, harvesting and log cartage contractors, those looking at utilising surplus residues from wood processing and manufacturing operations and aggregators, who were extracting, transporting, processing, drying and selling ever-increasing volumes of woody biofuels that are being sought by larger industrial heat and energy users.
And it wasn’t only New Zealand companies. A good contingent from Australia attended again and a raft of international delegates were able to join those in Rotorua, New Zealand and participate in the event remotely.
Last year’s event, Residues2Revenues 2022 (R2R22), barely scratched the surface. Feedback clearly told the organisers that the event was long overdue, that the networking provided was invaluable and that the industry didn’t want the momentum built up at R2R 2022 to diminish. It didn’t.
Interest, particularly from forest owners who were looking to better utilise forest residues, slash, bin wood, offcuts left on landings, short length or malformed logs not meeting MDF, pulp-mill or chip export log specifications and the almost weekly announcements by the NZ Government encouraging business and consumers to switch from fossil fuels to renewables ensured that interest just ramped up. As evidenced by the photos collected over the two days, the event met and exceeded all expectations.
To reflect the speed of change, in just the three months leading up to Residues2Revenues 2023, the NZ Government announced;
- A ban on new coal boilers and phasing out by 2037, of all existing coal boilers.
- An investment of NZ$10.4 million into woody biomass research including maximising the management of woody debris, including slash as well as support being given to develop a pilot bioenergy plant to turn woody debris into a mix of biodiesel and electricity (https://woodresidues.events/bioenergy-funding-to-better-utilise-forestry-slash/).
- Co-investing more than NZ$2 million with Air New Zealand into two studies to consider the feasibility of producing sustainable aviation fuel.
- A NZ$10 million dollar investment was made to replace all remaining coal boilers in New Zealand schools with renewable woody biomass or electric heating sources by 2025.
- and Fonterra announced that they were continuing to progress their decarbonisation work with the coal boilers at its Hautapu site being converted to wood pellets. Other projects underway at the time included the Waitoa and Stirling sites which were both in the process of installing wood biomass boilers to transition out of coal.
Announcements and initiatives like these ensured that the Residues2Revenues 2023 conference, pre-and post-conference workshops and exhibitions (inside and outside the venue) were perfectly timed.
It provided an independent platform showcasing new innovations and smart operating practices being used, locally and internationally, to harvest and process wood residues and explore further, through a series of case studies, a raft of options being used to successfully aggregate regional fuel supplies to ensure consistency of product quality, quantity and supply.
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