Binwood collection – converting slash into biofuel

Friday 28 Apr 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle has had a devastating impact on New Zealand, bringing major concerns to the fore about climate change and forestry management. The news reports from February will stay long in the memory, particularly the huge volumes of slash that contributed to our worst floods this century. As managing slash becomes an urgent nationwide issue, one company has devised a solution that can turn the problem into a positive.

Forestry and timber company OneFortyOne is a business with a plan — to turn New Zealand's unwanted forestry slash into biofuel. According to the business, slash has huge potential to be used as biofuel when salvaged, recycled, and repurposed. The biofuel made from slash can also help organisations move away from coal and fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources, it says.

Based in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions at the top of the South Island, OneFortyOne recognises that slash can cause significant environmental problems. The business is on a mission to harness classic Kiwi ingenuity and turn unwanted waste into a fuel source that can power communities into a cleaner future.

OneFortyOne collects binwood, the larger pieces of slash measuring over 600mm long and 100mm wide that don't meet the required log grades or dimensions for sawmills or pulp mills. After salvaging the wood from skid sites, OneFortyOne stores it in safe storage sites across its estate. The binwood is then dried over many months. Once moisture content is at the right level, it can be chipped and used as an energy source.

Since November 2021, OneFortyOne has invested almost $500,000 into its binwood collection project, accumulating 15,000 tonnes of wood. That's enough to fill 405 logging trucks or cover two rugby pitches piled three metres high. Not an insignificant amount.

The slash initiative requires meticulous care and attention. The removal of wood has to be balanced with wise management of soils and slopes, and enough biomass has to be left on the slopes to provide nutrients for future planting. The extraction of logs and binwood must also be done in a way that prevents erosion of the slopes until the next rotation of trees is established.

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Source: Stuff

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