PGP funding of $6.75m announced for forestry biofuels programme

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have welcomed the announcement of Primary Growth Partnership funding of $6.75 million to investigate producing biofuels from forestry waste.

The ‘Stump to Pump’ Primary Growth Partnership programme partners are Norske Skog, Z Energy and the Government. The Government will match their funding of $6.75 million to bring the project’s total funding to $13.5 million.

“This is an exciting announcement as this partnership between the Government and industry has the potential to make an important economic and environmental contribution to New Zealand,” Mr Joyce says.

“If the technology can be proven and commercialised, the economic benefit for New Zealand over the next 20–25 years is estimated at an annual increase in GDP of up to $1 billion and the creation of 1,200 direct jobs in regional economies.”

“The Stump to Pump programme has obvious sustainability and environmental benefits. Local production of biofuels from forestry waste could be a game-changer for New Zealand and could also reduce the industry’s dependency on imported fuel,” Mr Guy says.

Since the PGP was launched three years ago, 16 innovative projects are under way. The programmes include:

* A new tree harvesting machine that can fell and bunch logs on steep slopes and remove the need for chainsaw operator, resulting in a 26% increase in productivity, now being in commercial use.

* 2000 farms are implementing the Dairy Value Chain programme’s Whole Farm Assessment approach, resulting in an estimated economic benefit of $50,000 per farm per year.

* In the 2011–12 production season, farms in the Farm IQ programme recorded an average decrease in production costs of 12%, with an average increase in production of 10% leading to a gross farm income increase of $214 per hectare.

* Grass-fed wagyu processed as part of the Marbled Grass-fed Beef programme returned and extra $1 per kg, above the schedule price for Prime Steer.

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