New Zealand’s biofuel industry began six years ago when, in 2007 and 2008, Gull and Mobil respectively started to take advantage of the Ethanol Excise Exemption introduced by the Government (still applicable today). In 2009, the The Biodiesel Grants Scheme was launched with a 42.5 cents per litre subsidy. Unfortunately, when this life support was removed last May the sector had not yet gained sufficient momentum to supply biofuels to the mass market nationwide. Despite the difficulties, Gull continues to offer biofuel blended fuels in the North Island, made from a natural byproduct of the dairy industry’s activity. Z Energy also recently put
Gull biofuels are made from a by-product of the dairy industry, and sourced from Fonterra.
its hat in the biofuel ring, with a possible $15 million investment to develop the potential of converting tallow from the meat industry to biodiesel, with potential production of up to 20m litres a year. New player Green Fuels NZ has purchased the biodiesel business from Solid Energy, so there is clearly still keen interest in developing this sector further. Development of the next generation of biofuels is underway, principally sourced from woody biomass. The technology is still years away from reaching the market, but wood milling companies like Norske Skog and Carters are actively looking at converting their facilities to biofuel production, backed with research from the former Crown Research Institute Scion.
Dr Ian Suckling pictured in front of a pilot plant being used in research to convert
chipped Pinus radiata (in hands) into liquid fuels at Scion. Photo: Alan Gibson.