Woodfuel in New Zealand


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Presentation to the Institute of Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers, Dunedin NZ, June 2009

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Woodfuel in New Zealand

  1. 1. Modern Wood-Fired Heating : The State of Play in NZNeil HarrisonSector Development Manager Dependable • Sustainable • Cost Effective
  2. 2. The State of Play in New ZealandModern Wood-Fired Heating :The State of Play in NZ Woodfuel uptake in NZ currently sits where Northern Europe was 25-30 years ago. That said, wood already provides some 20% of the renewable energy produced in New Zealand - - wood is currently well deployed as a fuel in a domestic setting, and throughout the timber processing industry (sawmills, panel mills and pulp mills). However, installations at these scales bear little relation to the commercial and industrial systems which make up the backbone of the European woodfuel industry. = virtually no commercial scale exemplars in NZ.
  3. 3. Historical DriversModern Wood-Fired Heating :The State of Play in NZ Domestic - Wood is an abundant, familiar, low cost and easy to handle source of heat. Timber Sector - Wood is a by-product of sawmilling & timber processing, i.e. is a waste product that needs to be disposed of, yet it has an energy value. For a sawmill or other timber processor, not turning waste wood into energy when there is a need for heat on site makes no sense! For those that don’t need heat, but who have waste, other markets must be sought…
  4. 4. Current Drivers And Barriers • High fossil energy prices • Historically low energy prices • Energy security • BAU is easy • Job creation • Weak ‘green’ incentives • Diversion of waste from landfill • No exemplars / demonstrators • CO2 neutral • Concerns over supply chain • Increase in forest establishment, • Nowhere to turn for advice or products management & standing timber quality In my world : Everyone should want to switch to a reliable, schedulable, low cost, market proven source of renewable energy, whilst also removing exposure to climate change policy and the rollercoaster ride of international energy prices.
  5. 5. The Industry Today Automated, commercial-scale woodfuel is ready for take off!
  6. 6. The Industry Today Woodfuel is traditionally regarded as old, dirty, labour intensive and expensive. 30 years of investment in research, production and market development have led to the creation of woodfuel industries in some EU states worth hundreds of millions of Euro’s.  Fully automatic feed  Electric ignition  Capacity control  Remote system control & monitoring  Automatic cleaning  Automatic ash extraction  Typical efficiency 90% +  Very low ash remains - c. 1 to 3%  Very low particulate emissions  As close to a fossil fuel boiler as possible!
  7. 7. The Application of Wood Energy : Log Boilers • Available up to c. 200kW, although 20-50kW is more common; • Require manual loading; • Use the lowest cost of woodfuel with lowest production carbon intensity; • Can burn (untreated) waste wood, making running costs even lower; • Very low emissions; • Very low ash remains (typically one bucket per 20 charges); • Can be used in water or space heating roles. Applications : Home heating (via central / underfloor heating); Pool heating; Small rural motels; Small rural schools.
  8. 8. The Application of Wood Energy : Pellet Boilers • Available from 15kW to 1MW and above; • Fully automated feed and controls (even SMS commands); • Low emissions (ideal for Christchurch & other tightly regulated airsheds); • Use the most expensive form of wood energy; • Dry fuel (c. 11% moisture) gives very high levels of efficiency - 90% and above; • Require a fuel store adjacent or close to boiler (pneumatic / auger transfer); • Characteristics of pellets reduce costs of installation. Applications : Home heating (via central / underfloor heating); Urban applications & where space is at a premium; Schools; Commercial & office space; Applications close to the site of pellet manufacture.
  9. 9. The Application of Wood Energy : Chip Boilers • Available from 50kW to 20MW (and beyond); • Fully automated feed, de-ashing and control; • Low emissions on dry fuel and on wet with stack clean-up technology; • The lowest cost form of automated wood-fired heating; • High levels of efficiency - as good as pellets on dry fuel; • Fuel widely available - trees + chipper = woodchip! • Can require larger fuel stores than pellets - less energy dense fuel. Applications : Schools; Hospitals / Prisons; Hotels; Industrial heat users; Offices & commercial.
  10. 10. Snapshot of Current School Boiler Replacements
  11. 11. In Summary A woodfuel industry, learning from 30 years of European experience is beginning to emerge in New Zealand (outside the timber processing sector); There are now half a dozen European boiler manufacturers represented in NZ, & many items of ancillary equipment now available; There are 7 new, purpose-built wood chip boilers either recently installed or being installed at present – providing excellent exemplars & case studies. A few NZ-based boiler producers have branched out into manufacturing pellet systems and coal-to-pellet conversions, totalling around 11,000kW installed. All the right ingredients are in place for wood-fired boilers to make a the same kind of contribution to our heat energy needs as in Europe - 10 -25% of the total.
  12. 12. Thank You