The Stump to Pump PGP project ended on 30 September 2014. It investigated how to generate more value from forestry waste by converting it to liquid biofuels. The project's industry partners were Norske Skog and Z Energy.
Programme started: July 2013
Programme ended: 30 September 2014
Total programme cost: $3.62 million
Crown funding paid out to the programme for work done to 31 August 2017:$1,810,586
Commercial partners: Norske Skog Tasman Ltd and Z Energy Ltd
Estimated economic benefits to NZ: $1 billion per year by 2033, if the technology is commercialised
The Stump to Pump PGP programme, led by Norske Skog Tasman and Z Energy, investigated how to generate more value from forestry waste by converting it to liquid biofuels.
A feasibility study looked into the commercial viability of a biofuels business in New Zealand from Radiata Pine residues. This was a comprehensive and rigorous assessment of all key aspects from feedstock characteristics and availability, to design and technical viability of a test plant, to fuel distribution and logistics.
The programme provided the partners with a significant amount of technical understanding around the potential to produce biofuels from forestry waste.
With programme partners Norske Skog Tasman and Z Energy leading the programme together it has been possible to identify and consider all the issues from source to end product. This value chain approach has been immensely valuable.
Four key outcomes
The feasibility study focused on 4 key outcomes:
A review of internationally available technologies, ensuring the best fit that could be implemented for the New Zealand context.
A calculation of the economics of producing biofuels from waste forestry biomass based on the preferred technology.
A review of the path to market for produced fuels.
A review of the expansion potential for the business.
The study achieved the following:
The economic returns were evaluated for converting forest waste into biofuel products using a comprehensive financial model with the key inputs being fibre pricing, capex, opex, fuel product values, exchange rate assumptions plus financial information
Preliminary engineering work was completed to a defined scope with accepted design for a Modular Test Plant at the Norske Skog Tasman site for a plant of capacity of 170,000 MAF Tonnes/yr. (Moisture and Ash Free Tonnes)
End user products were defined as well as the completion of a “Path to Market” analysis which encompassed product quality and assurance and the specific requirements for fuel testing
A comprehensive understanding of what the key risks would be for the new business and potential mitigation strategies
The study determined that:
A sufficient volume of forest residues is available to support biofuel production in New Zealand, and the volume is predicted to grow over time. The total estimates for New Zealand are in the vicinity of 3.9 million cubic metres in 2014 increasing to 5.8 million cubic metres by 2025
Technology exists that converts forestry residues to hydrocarbon liquid biofuels. While the current data shows that the products do not yet fully meet New Zealand fuel specifications, efforts are underway to enhance the process and improve the quality of both the petrol and diesel fractions
The partners believe that the establishment of a viable biofuels business from forest residues will have a significant positive influence on investment elsewhere and particularly upstream in the forestry and wood processing sector.
Having gained confidence that it is technically feasible, the next stage is to firm up the commercial viability and ensure that the products meet specifications for the intended markets and applications.
The partners have decided that this may take 2 to 3 years and that this next stage will be industry funded.
Once this next industry-funded phase of work is complete, there may be an opportunity to progress towards plant development and, ultimately, commercialisation.