Friday Offcuts 16 December 2022
Normal production is scheduled to resume on Friday 20 January 2023. As we sign off today, we’d like to thank all of you for your ongoing support, contributions and comments throughout the year and we’re really looking forward to working with you all again in 2023.
Already, a full programme of eagerly awaited 2023 technology events for local forestry and wood products companies has been planned with the industry for the first half of 2023. Admit it, with record attendances recorded for industry events in the last half of this year (Residues2Revenues, Carbon Forestry, WoodWorks and ForestTECH) it was great to finally throw off the shackles of enforced isolation and meet up with real people. Check out what’s on offer and mark the relevant dates into your 2023 diaries before heading off on a short break. We’ll provide further updates next year as the final pieces fall into place and as we move closer to running each of these events.
To finish the year on, we feature this week a number of stories on one of the key technologies that this year has markedly changed how we travel and how we’re going to be transporting goods, including logs and wood products, through the wood supply chain. The growth in electric vehicles (EV’s) over the past decade has been nothing short of phenomenal, rising from sales of 17,000 vehicles in 2010 to 16.5m in 2021, a compound growth rate in the stock of all EV’s of 89%. This figure is even more amazing when you consider that the overall industry typically grows less than 1% per annum.
Reinforcing this growth, Australian freight giant Team Global Express has just announced that they've made their largest order for electric trucks in Australia. Thirty-six medium duty electric trucks from Swedish based Volvo Trucks and another 24 light rigid battery electric trucks from Daimler Fuso are on order. It’s an AU$44 million project representing the largest ever electric truck trial in Australia, if not the world. Södra, the large Swedish forestry co-operative (one of Sweden’s largest freight purchasers and log and chip haulage companies) has also just launched their own project for large-scale electrification of all its internal and external transportation. And finally, still in this space, for all you die hard ute- drivers out there, you’ll be pleased to hear that a team’s now also working on developing a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of the trusty Toyota Hilux. That has to be news to finish the year on. See you all next year.
This week we have for you:
Biggest order for electric trucks in AustraliaAustralian freight giant Team Global Express has made the biggest order for electric trucks in Australia after landing an AU$20 million deal with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to fund the purchase.
The deal involves the purchase of 36 medium duty electric trucks from the Swedish based Volvo Trucks and another 24 light rigid e-canter battery electric trucks from Daimler Fuso, along with the charging infrastructure for its Sydney transport base.
The purchase orders represent the biggest single electric truck order for Volvo and will be the biggest electric truck trial in Australia, if not the world.
The ARENA funds will account for nearly half of the AU$44 million costs of the truck and the investment in the Bungarribee parcels depot in western Sydney, which will include 63 chargers (16 Kempower 120kW fast chargers and 47 Jet Charge 22kW AC chargers).
Team Global will also install a 1MWh battery at the site, and add more rooftop solar – probably around 500kW – to the 400kW system that already exists. It will contract further grid consumption from wind and solar suppliers.
The Volvo FL Electric trucks – which will be delivered early in 2023 – will be equipped with four 66kWh battery packs for increased range and improved charging performance. The FL Electric utilises a 600-volt single motor electric drive system as well as a 2-speed automated transmission.
The trucks will be fitted with 10-pallet van bodies and will become a part of the company’s Sydney metropolitan pick-up and delivery fleet. The trucks have a gross mass of 16,000kg and a payload of 5,500kg. The ARENA grant will help bridge the gap between the cost of battery electric trucks and diesel trucks, which in the case of these two models are two or three times more expensive.
The total spend on the project is AU$44 million, including charging and other site infrastructure that will help power the electric express parcels fleet based at the Sydney depot.
Volvo Trucks has been one of the leaders in the shift to electric heavy transport, and was the first to begin series production of heavy-duty electric trucks at its Gothenburg factory in September.
“We are extremely happy to see a valued customer such as Team Global Express take such a significant step towards zero-emissions transport,” says Paul Illmer, the vice president of emerging technology business development at Volvo Group Australia.
Note: Paul Illmer will be presenting as part of the Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 event being run for local forestry and log haulage companies in Rotorua, New Zealand on 24-25 May 2023
“Importantly it’s also a show of faith in our ability to deliver electric transport solutions that are efficient, productive and dependable business solutions. Electromobility doesn’t have to be a compromise and ultimately, I feel we will prove this and more as these trucks take to the streets during 2023.”
It is the second major initiative from the federal government on electric vehicles in the last week, following the AU$20.5 million committed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to support discount loans for electric vehicle purchases made through Taurus Motor Finance.
Source: thedriven, Volvo
Forico achieves FSC® Ecosystem Services certificationThe Chief Executive Officer of Forestry Stewardship Council® Australia New Zealand (FSC® ANZ) has described Forico as ‘demonstrating exemplary leadership for the forestry industry in Australia’ after the company became the first forest manager in Australia to achieve FSC® Ecosystem Services certification.
The FSC® Ecosystem Services Procedure enables organisations already certified to the globally recognised FSC® Forest Management Standard to demonstrate the positive outcomes of their forest management activities on one or more ecosystem services. Forico successfully demonstrated positive outcomes in the category of Biodiversity Conservation, specifically, the conservation of natural forest characteristics, and conservation of species diversity.
The certification is an important third-party endorsement of Forico’s approach in protecting the biodiversity values across its managed estate. This is a key element of reporting in the company’s award-winning Natural Capital Report, of which the third will be published in early 2023.
‘Having our ecosystem services certified within the FSC framework highlights our commitment to sustainable forest management,’ said Simon Cook, Forico’s Sustainability Manager. ‘It allows us to verify our outcomes based on credible and robust monitoring and assessment, and to then communicate confidently on how we are making a measurable difference in fighting biodiversity loss and ultimately climate change.’
Forico manages some 88,000 hectares of productive plantation forest alongside 77,000 hectares of natural forest vegetation, including 6,800 hectares threatened forest communities. The estate’s natural forest is managed for conservation and biodiversity, while the company’s plantation operations are managed for wood fibre production.
Through surveys conducted across the estate as a whole, Forico has determined the presence of thirty-eight threatened flora species such as the Crowded-Leek orchid, and twenty-five threatened fauna species including thriving populations of healthy Tasmanian devils, quolls and wedge-tailed eagles.
Highland Poa grassland, a listed threatened vegetation community in Tasmania, is proactively managed by the company through ecological burning, as it was by Aboriginal people. The Ptunarra Brown Butterfly, also a listed threatened species, occurs only in Tasmania and favours native tussock grassland habitat, specifically the highland Poa sites. Maintaining and enhancing the natural grassland ecosystem is a high priority for Forico to ensure the rare butterfly populations continue to thrive. In the coming years Forico plans to incorporate additional ecosystem services elements to the certification, specifically Carbon Sequestration and Storage.
Melanie Robertson, Chief Executive Officer of FSC® ANZ, congratulated the company on becoming Australia’s first certified forest manager to successfully implement FSC®’s Ecosystem Services Procedure. ‘Forico’s forest stewardship and commitment to achieving positive environmental and social outcomes demonstrate exemplary leadership for the forestry industry in Australia. We are proud to have Forico in our FSC community and believe this important milestone will inspire momentum in the ecosystem services space.’
Photo: Forico’s Sustainability Manager Simon Cook (L) and UTAS Lecturer in Wildlife Ecology Dr Rodrigo Hamede (R). Photo credit: E. Safarik
EOI: Residues2Revenues 2023Early expressions of interest to present at next year’s Residues2Revenues 2023 event are now being called for. This year saw record numbers of forestry, wood harvesting, timber products companies and wood residues extraction and handling specialists turn up in Rotorua, New Zealand. The venue, with conference, pre and post conference workshops and exhibitions sold out.
With developments in biomass utilisation so rapidly unfolding right now, delegate and exhibitor feedback requested a follow up in 2023. The dates have been set, 25-26 July 2023, Rotorua, New Zealand. As we did last year, live streaming of the event is also being set up for those international companies unable to get into New Zealand to attend the event in person.
The Residues2Revenues (R2R) event that was run in late July 2022 saw an amazing turnout from across the forestry and wood residues industries. It was a decade since the last wood residues programme had been run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA). Over 350 delegates, both in person and remotely were involved. It was a true testament to the growing recognition by forest owners, wood processors and those involved in log harvesting and wood transport, that demand for alternatives to fossil fuels is right now, transforming the forestry sector.
The 2022 conference, pre and post conference workshops and exhibitions (inside and outside the venue) showcased new innovations and smart operating practices being used, locally and internationally, to harvest sort, dry, transport and sell forest residues, bin wood, offcuts left on landings, short length or malformed logs that weren’t meeting MDF, pulp-mill or chip export log specifications and sawmill residues.
Details on the expectations and requirements from a growing number of larger industrial scale heat and energy users who’d either made the switch to biofuels were outlined to those attending along with early discussions on a raft of options that could be set up to aggregate regional fuel supplies to ensure consistency of quality of the product and supply.
Discussions at the 2022 event also looked at how prevailing supply models to progressively drive scale and supply chain reliability could be changed. It was felt that growers, processors and in some cases consumers, all needed to be part of any future supply contract models.
The clear message from R2R 2022 was that demand for wood residues or biofuels is increasing exponentially, that much greater volumes of woody biomass were needed, that the economics for supply are really starting to stack up and that the forestry industry was committed to ensure that woody biomass would be available to meet current and the projected future demand.
What’s planned for 2023?
The 2022 R2R event barely scratched the surface. Feedback to the event provided significant guidance by all those attending and firm recommendations for a 2023 follow-up. Commercial announcements have already been made on major boiler conversions being planned for biofuels. More are in the pipeline.
Prevailing supply models are being discussed at a regional and corporate level to progressively drive the scale and supply chain reliability required, as discussed at R2R 2022. And since the 2022 event ran, the NZ Government launched its Forestry and Wood Processing Industry Transformation Plan. It’s the country’s first strategy dedicated to boosting the forestry and wood processing sector in over a decade. And, as anticipated, better utilisation of bioenergy is very much a cornerstone of the new ITP.
Again, the timing’s going to be spot on. Residues2Revenues 2023 will be able to expand on key points made by presenters in 2022, cover recent technology advancements and dig much deeper into new and recent developments for co-ordinating the harvesting and extraction of wood residues and aggregation of regional biofuel supplies.
Interested in presenting?
For 2022, the conference programme and space to present as part of the workshops filled very quickly. If interested in presenting next year, please get back to Brent Apthorp ( firstname.lastname@example.org) BEFORE the end of next week, before we break for the summer break, Friday 23 December.
Mentoring the next generation of forestry professionalsForestry Australia is delighted to announce a continuation of its Mentoring Program after an immensely successful first year, which saw 100 per cent of mentees report that they were highly satisfied or satisfied with the program. The inaugural program connected experienced forestry professionals with those who were seeking to develop professionally, personally and evolve their career, with 54 participants enrolling in the nine-month program.
Forestry Australia CEO Jacquie Martin said the program supported the development of the next generation of leaders within the forest sector and encouraged diversity of ideas, people and skills. The program also supports Forestry Australia’s commitment to meeting the needs of its increasingly diverse membership and reinforces its inclusive culture.
“A mentoring relationship is a powerful development experience that can deliver personal and professional benefits for both mentors and mentees,” Ms Martin said. “We were delighted to receive such great feedback from participants in the program’s first year, and we are looking forward to enhancing this offering even further in 2023.”
2022 Mentee Emily Post (pictured) said the program improved her professional confidence and introduced her to a valuable industry network. “My mentor was brilliant, though the connection I have learnt how to become more specific with my goals, and what is required to reach them,” Ms Post said.
“My mentor helped me to refine my resume and gave me a true confidence in my knowledge and how to effectively communicate it. The program has left me with a stronger network within the industry, a clearer sense of my goals, and a greater confidence in myself as a professional.”
2022 Mentor Kevin Harding said it was highly rewarding to assist in the personal and professional development of his assigned mentee. “It has been excellent to engage with a mentee who I did not previously know and is now a valued friend,” he said. “Our discussions changed focus as he focused in on a new career path that he wants to develop - the program helped him to realise where he wants to take his career.”
Forestry Australia’s Mentoring Program is developed around a framework and tool kit of resources which supports participants to ensure effective and sustainable knowledge transfer, skill acquisition and maintaining momentum. Mentors and mentees dedicate at least one hour a month to meet, plus set additional time to prepare for meetings including goal setting, pre-reading, planning and reflection activities.
Applications to participate in Forestry Australia’s 2023 Mentoring Program open Thursday, 15 December.
For more information about becoming involved as either a mentor or a mentee, visit www.forestry.org.au/mentoring/
Source: Forestry Australia
Södra launches electric transport initiativeSödra is launching a major initiative to electrify the operation’s transportation. A new project will study the future potential to operate electric-powered trucks, forklifts and loaders that can help further reduce the association’s fossil-fuel emissions.
Södra is currently a net producer of electricity and is aiming to reach net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2040. A natural step in this process is to electrify the vehicle fleet and operations. Parts of the mills’ vehicle fleet already runs on electricity, including electric forklifts at the Värö and Långasjö sawmills. This work will now enter the next phase and Södra is launching a project for the large-scale electrification of internal and external transportation.
The project includes the electrification of logging and chip trucks in Södra’s own haulage business as well as vehicles at mills. It will also clarify which vehicles and type of charging equipment are suitable for Södra’s various units and how infrastructure and logistics should be planned. Furthermore, the project includes a study of how electrification can take place in a safe manner and how future business models should be designed to create the right conditions for large-scale electrification.
“Södra is one of Sweden’s largest freight purchasers and transportation accounts for the largest share of our fossil-fuel emissions. This is why large-scale electrification is an important piece of the puzzle, together with liquid biofuel, to reduce our fossil-fuel emissions and to further contribute to society’s climate transition,” said Henrik Brodin, who is Head of Energy and responsible for the ‘A Fossil-free Södra’ project.
Closest to hand is the continued electrification of internal transportation, where most of Södra’s internal forklift fleet will be replaced by the next generation of electric forklifts. The time horizon for external truck transportation is longer, involves more operators and makes new demands on business models.
If electrification is to succeed, an expansion is needed of charging infrastructure at Södra’s own units and across Götaland. Södra’s own haulage operations will be a driving force in these developments together with strategic partners. The project is part of the ‘A Fossil-free Södra’ project and will run until 2025. The ambition is thereafter to pursue the transition as part of regular operations.
Wood-energy sector worried by EU biomass plansEuropean Parliament plans to exclude some types of primary wood from the EU’s renewable energy goals is causing jitters among the industry, which points to bioenergy as an essential part of the EU’s energy security.
Biomass currently makes up 60% of all European renewable energy, with the heating and cooling sector the largest end-user, according to EU statistics. Following a July 2021 proposal from the European Commission to revise the renewable energy directive, the Parliament adopted its position in September which aims at limiting the amount of biomass that can be burned.
This is achieved through the exclusion of certain types of ‘primary woody biomass’ from what is considered renewable energy, as well as through a cap on its usage. The Parliament’s proposal to exclude some primary woody biomass from the directive has proven controversial, with some governments concerned it could jeopardise energy security.
“The real challenge that we are facing within the next two to three years is actually to address energy security, and basically keeping ourselves warm and our industries afloat,” said Pauline Lucas, policy director at Euroheat and Power, the international network for district energy.
This calls for the use of “all sustainable heating sources that we have at hand” – including woody biomass, she told participants at a EURACTIV event on Thursday (1 December).
Bioenergy represents 20% of the energy mix in district heating across the EU. And according to Lucas, biomass will remain an important resource to decarbonise the heating sector, phase out fossil fuels, and recover wood residues that cannot be used for other purposes.
Limiting its use “could really worsen the decarbonisation pathway of our sector,” Lucas warned, saying it risked driving the market away from district heating. “In terms of the value chain, this could have quite far-reaching consequences,” she added.
Biomass crowding out investments in wind, solar
Bioenergy has been criticised by environmental groups who say burning wood drives deforestation, destroys natural habitats, and undermines forests acting as carbon sinks in the fight against climate change. According to them, policymakers should stop encouraging the burning of primary wood by excluding it from the EU’s renewable energy targets.
“I really wonder how you can decarbonise anything by burning wood,” said Martin Pigeon from FERN, an international NGO campaigning to protect forests. For an equal amount of heat or electricity, burning wood releases more CO2 than burning gas, oil and even coal, Pigeon highlighted, saying that the forestry industry is “contributing to massive degradation of the land sink”.
“When we hear about net-zero, the net is just forests. When you talk about land, it’s the second biggest sink we have after the oceans,” he explained. Pigeon also remarked that the possibility to count biomass as renewable energy allows some EU countries like Hungary to reach their renewable energy targets mostly thanks to bioenergy, thus delaying investments in wind and solar.
“What is the signal that the EU wants to send investors about the future of its energy? Is it burning wood again, like we’ve done for one million years already? Or do we want something that’s actually cleaner and that is not done at the expense of our health, at the expense of forests, and of our future?” he asked.
Death a reminder to keep an eye on field staffA forestry services company has been ordered to pay NZ$536,000 for the death of a worker on a site near Wairoa in 2020. The victim, a 48-year-old father and husband, was killed at Quail Ridge Forest in Putere, near Wairoa, New Zealand on November 5, 2020.
The man, who WorkSafe has not named, was crushed while repairing a mechanical attachment, known as a harvester head, when the device was activated by being manually spun. The victim was an experienced and qualified service technician for forestry plant manufacturer/supplier Waratah Forestry Services Limited.
The company had been engaged by Freedom Logging Ltd, which was undertaking the harvest for Forestry Management NZ Ltd. Waratah pleaded guilty to health and safety failures and was sentenced in Auckland District Court on Wednesday.
WorkSafe found Waratah’s field technicians had been inadequately trained about the risks and controls involved in such a repair job, and weren’t properly monitored to correct any unsafe practices. The company was fined NZ$265,000 and ordered to pay reparations of NZ$271,000.
WorkSafe’s area investigation manager, Danielle Henry, said although Waratah’s field technicians were provided with some safety instruction, the manuals for the harvester head were large and the 'buddy' training system the business had was insufficient. “There was no other supervision and monitoring of the field technicians’ safety knowledge and practices,” she said.
For more on the accident and learnings from WorkSafe, click here
Source: Stuff, WorkSafe
Fifth forestry company fined for east coast damageForestry company Ernslaw One Limited has been ordered to pay NZ$225,000 for serious forestry offending related to a storm event in Uawa/Tolaga Bay on the east coast of the North Island, NZ in June 2018.
Ernslaw pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges laid against them by Gisborne District Council. The sentencing at the Gisborne District Court concluded one of the largest series of investigations and prosecutions under the Resource Management Act (RMA).
Ernslaw is the fifth company sentenced in Tairāwhiti after severe rain events in June 2018 dislodged sediment and slash (log waste) from poorly managed forestry sites. It’s estimated 400,000m3 of slash washed down hills, clogged rivers, caused serious environmental harm and damaged properties. Around 47,000m3 of the woody debris washed up on Uawa Beach.
Council Chief Executive Nedine Thatcher Swann says she wants the fine to be seen as a deterrent. “Any company that pollutes our region will be prosecuted. The sentencing of Ernslaw closes court action against five forestry companies from an event that devastated the community of Uawa more than four years ago. “Our hill country is steep and erosion-prone. It must be planted and harvested with care to ensure sustainable management of our natural and physical resources.”
Ms Thatcher Swann says monitoring of consent conditions has increased. “Storms of this intensity are becoming more frequent due to climate change. As a Council we must make sure best practice is being followed in forestry to protect our environment, people and property.
Ernslaw’s charges relate to Uawa Forest between June 1, 2017 and June 22, 2018. Over Queen’s Birthday weekend in 2018 intense rainfall over Uawa dislodged sediment and slash (log waste from logging sites) on hilly erosion-prone slopes.
The slash came from a number of forestry sites, including Uawa Forest, where Ernslaw is the holder of the resource consent and responsible for the forestry harvest and associated earthworks. Uawa Forest is owned by Timbergrow Limited. A week later more intense rainfall affected the district south of Uawa.
Ernslaw was also ordered to pay emotional harm reparation to each of the parties who prepared victim impact statements. Other companies successfully prosecuted by Council from these events include Aratu Forests Limited (formerly Hikurangi Forest Farms Limited), Juken NZ Limited, DNS Forest Products 2009 Limited and PF Olsen Limited.
Other coverage on this story can be read here
Hydrogen fuel cell-powered Toyota HiluxToyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell Hilux will be the nameplate’s first electrified variant. Toyota has reiterated that it is committed to developing hydrogen technology following two new vehicle announcements this week. As well as the Corolla Cross recently landing in New Zealand in hybrid form, the company has announced plans to develop a hydrogen Hilux pick-up.
Last week, Toyota Motor Europe announced its plans to develop hydrogen fuel-cell Hilux – making this the first electrified Hilux confirmed for development. The project is earmarked for “small series production” should its early testing prove successful.
The news was made possible with funding from the UK Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre, and a consortium of businesses that includes Ricardo, ETL, D2H, and Thatcham Research. The Hilux will utilise the Mirai’s powertrain, which includes three tanks capable of holding 141 litres of hydrogen, a 330-cell solid polymer electrolyte fuel-cell stack, a 1.2kW battery, and a rear-mounted 134kW/300Nm electric motor.
“The UK is one of the key markets for pick-up trucks and is an important market for Toyota. This funding represents a tremendous opportunity to develop a zero-emission solution in a critical market segment,” said Toyota Motor Europe president and CEO Matt Harrison.
Toyota has stated that a successful hydrogen transport sector “is an essential building block” towards achieving ‘net zero’ targets. Quizzed about the hydrogen Hilux, a Toyota New Zealand spokesperson said that the company is not yet in a position to comment on the project.
While hydrogen is touted as a clean-burning fuel and it continues to build momentum in the heavy transport sector, most of it is not produced using renewable resources and is known to be difficult to handle and transport.
There is a large amount of industry discussion around the production of ‘green hydrogen’, 96% of the world’s hydrogen usage is classified as ‘grey hydrogen’. It’s estimated that for each kilogram of grey hydrogen obtained, 10kg of carbon dioxide is produced.
Hyne Group CEO Jon Kleinschmidt retiringAustralia’s forest industries congratulate Jon Kleinschmidt who has announced his retirement after serving as Chief Executive Officer of Hyne Group since 2012, Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said.
“Jon is well known to the sector and on behalf of everyone across our forest industries I congratulate Jon on his years of service, not just for his 28 years to Hyne Group, that has gone from strength to strength as a leading softwood sawmilling product provider under his leadership, but also his service to the broader sector through his time on the AFPA Board,” Ross Hampton said.
Jon served as a Director on the AFPA Board from 2016 to 2022 – nominated from AFPA’s Softwood Manufacturing Chamber. “The hallmark of Jon’s input on the AFPA Board was always forward leaning and with a willingness to confront the challenges faced by the sector, especially with regards to securing future timber resource, the bushfires and the times of peak demand following the COVID-pandemic induced building boom,” Ross Hampton said.
“I congratulate Jon and wish him all the best in his retirement from May next year. We also welcome Hyne Group’s incoming Chief Executive Officer Jim Bindon who will transition from his current position at Big River Industries,” Ross Hampton concluded.
Manulife launches Forest Climate FundManulife Investment Management launched its Forest Climate Fund (FCF) which aims to raise US$500 million to buy sustainably managed forests that sequester carbon.
Manulife is branching out into forest carbon credit markets. The world’s biggest timberland investment manager is raising funds to buy sustainably managed forests where capturing carbon in standing trees is more important than cutting them down for profits.
Manulife Investment manages about 6 million acres of timberland in the Americas and Oceania on behalf of investors. The firm said it will raise the US$500 million fund from its parent company, Toronto insurance and financial-services firm Manulife Financial Corp., and other institutional investors.
The managing director of Manulife Investment Management’s impact investing Eric Cooperström said:
“We are excited to bring a product to investors that we have developed by capitalizing on our decades of experience in sustainable timberland management and on our carbon market expertise…”
With the launch of its Forest Climate Fund, Manulife is the latest financier to use forest carbon credits in its climate strategy. It joins the likes of Oak Hill Advisors LP, a subsidiary of T. Rowe Price Group Inc., which paid US$1.8 billion for 1.7 million acres of foreststo harvest carbon offsets. Last year, J.P. Morgan Asset Management also bought timberland manager Campbell Global LLC. eyeing the carbon markets.
The firm’s current portfolio of sustainably managed forestry assets is internationally diversified across the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. But its forests are mostly in the U.S., which represents over 95% of improved forest management carbon credits issued and retired to date.
Midway officially opens wood fibre export plantTasmania’s sustainable forestry sector is going from strength-to-strength with the official opening Tasmania’s newest wood fibre export facility at the Bell Bay Industrial Complex last week. The facility, owned by Midway Limited, will increase export capacity by up to 500,000 tonnes per annum and support jobs both onsite and in the field.
Midway Limited is Australia’s only listed wood fibre processor and exporter and has export facilities in Brisbane, Portland in the Green Triangle and now Bell Bay in northern Tasmania. Midway also manages a planation asset on the Tiwi Islands’ that export through the Port of Melville.
“The new facility employs the latest technology and is capable of processing range of high-quality wood fibre products to meet customer demands. Midway Tasmania also provides employment opportunities to the local area and secures the futures of forest contractors working in the local vicinity,’’ Minister Ellis said.
This investment is the result of five years of trialling sustainable thinning harvesting of native re-growth forests on Permanent Timber Production Zone land to provide a sustainable product which also meets customer demand and assists in growing high-quality sawlogs for the Tasmanian timber processing sector.
Source: Tasmanian Government
U.S. jumping on bioenergy bandwagonHumans have a long history of turning biomass – renewable organic material from plants and animals – into energy, mainly by burning wood. But as pressure mounts on global energy providers to slash dependence on fossil fuels and increase energy output from renewable sources, companies that can convert organic matter into energy look set to have a bright future.
Asia and Europe are the largest and fastest-growing regions for biomass use and biogas output, and accounted for 44% and 33%, respectively, of electricity generation from bioenergy sources in 2021, according to data from Ember. The two regions are also by far the top biomass importers, and are expected to accelerate biomass demand and bioenergy output in the coming years.
China, India, South Korea and Japan are all expected to increase use of biomass in power stations as they phase down use of dirtier-burning coal. At the same time, European power producers are expected to boost use of every alternative to natural gas, supplies of which have been distorted since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reduced pipelined gas flows to Europe and triggered a regional energy crisis that has turbocharged energy transition efforts.
In contrast to the strong growth seen elsewhere, electricity output from bioenergy has contracted in North America, shrinking by 13% since 2015 as lapsed subsidies and increased competition from solar and wind production sites dealt a heavy blow to utility-scale biomass in the United States.
However, thanks in part to the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, investments in U.S. biomass energy output look set to climb, especially in areas tied to harnessing gases from landfills and municipal waste sites that are key sources of carbon dioxide and methane.
Demand for biomass is also expected to climb from industries that are under pressure to reduce fossil fuel use and have subsidies available for energy system upgrades. Industry accounted for 48% of biomass use in the United States in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Biomass use to produce transport fuels – which accounted for 31% of biomass consumption in 2021 to make ethanol, biodiesel and renewable diesel – is also expected to grow thanks to new subsidies for biofuel storage, blending and production infrastructure. Households, which accounted for 10% of biomass demand in 2021, are also expected to increase biomass use thanks to new tax credits for biomass stoves.
These collective increases in bioenergy investments and biomass demand in the United States are likely to have far-reaching consequences for the trade in wood pellets, which are the primary form of international biomass exports.
The steady decline in U.S. bioenergy production in recent years helped fuel a rapid rise in wood pellet exports from the United States, the top global wood pellet exporter in 2021 with a roughly 26% market share, according to consulting firm Forest2Market.
U.S. wood pellet exports are hitting new records in 2022, with total shipments through September topping 6.6 million tonnes – 12.4% ahead of last year’s historic total for the same period – and valued at more than $1.1 billion, U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows. With U.S. demand for biomass set to increase in the coming years, those export flows are now at risk.
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... and one to end the week on ... Christmas Extras
Go to the woods of Kyushu, Japan. Engineer a massive xylophone (or is it a marimba?) to run down the slope of a forested hill. Take a wooden ball, place it at the top of said instrument, and push it. What do you get? Bach's treatment of a traditional church hymn! Namely, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."
Here's another clip sent in by a Canadian reader (from a few years ago as well) on "the service level that Canadians expect from their domestic airlines (well, that's the hope anyway.)" Enjoy.
One Christmas the family came home to celebrate. All four kids in the family were successful and had become wealthy doctors and lawyers. Over the break they were eating out and talking about what great gifts they had given their old mother, living in a far away city, for Christmas.
The first brother says: "I have built a big new house for mum. "
The second brother says :"I spent one hundred thousand dollars to have a cinema built in her new house. "
The third says : " I ordered my regular Mercedes dealer to deliver a luxurious convertible to her "
The fourth brother says : "Well, Mom loves to read the Bible and you know how bad her eyesight has become. I recently came across a priest, who told me about a parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took twenty priests well over 12 years to teach him all that but nowadays that parrot’s so good that you only need to say the chapter and the verse and he recites it. I had to promise to give one hundred thousand dollars to the Church every year for the next twenty years, but well, mum is worth every penny.
Christmas is over and mum sends her boys a thank you note: On the first she writes "John, the house that you have built for me, is so big that I use just one room, although I have to clean the whole house. Nevertheless, many thanks ! "
The second was told : "Charley, that cinema has got Dolby surround and 50 people fit in easily. Wonderful ! But all my friends and acquaintances are dead, I'm deaf and almost blind, so I never get there. But thanks for the good idea ! "
On the third: "Pete, I'm too old to go on a trip and my groceries are delivered at home so the Mercedes is rusting outside. But it was a nice idea. Many thanks ! "
And the fourth : "My dear Hank, you're the only son that gives enough about me to think of something that I really enjoy! The chicken was delicious ! Thank you very much ! "
And finally, one more to end the year on. Three priests are talking.
“I’ve tried everything,” says the first priest. “I still can’t get rid of our rats in my church.”
“Same here!” says the second priest. “We’ve tried poison, traps, and noise. Nothing works.”
“We don’t have that problem,” says the third priest. “We baptised and confirmed them all, and now they just show up at Easter and Christmas.”
And that's it for this year. For many of you next week it
will be time to clean up the office, pack up for your summer
holidays and plan to move on out. From all of us, it's been
real pleasure bringing you Friday Offcuts every week. We
forward to working with you again in what we hope is a
more settled year in 2023. Our first issue for the New Year
be 20 January. Cheers.
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