This news went out from the NZ Press Association.
NZ’s biofuel potential enough to run all transport – experts
Wellington, Sept 27; NZ Press Association
A report released by the energy panel of the Royal Society of New Zealand recommends the Government set aggressive but achievable targets for renewable transport fuels, phase out the use of fossil fuels unless carbon emissions can be contained and put in place policies to ensure that fossil fuel-free targets are met by 2020
Biofuels have the potential to provide New Zealand with more than enough transport fuel to be self-sufficient, a group of the country’s top energy experts say.
A report released by the energy panel of the New Zealand Royal Society recommends the Government set aggressive but achievable targets for renewable transport fuels, phase out the use of fossil fuels unless carbon emissions can be contained and put in place policies to ensure that fossil fuel-free targets are met by 2020.
The Government has been considering regulating the sale of biofuels, or fuel made from renewable sources, such as food crops and animal waste.
The report, 2020: Energy Opportunities, says the future of New Zealand’s energy sector was the most important problem facing the country.
It recommends that biofuels be introduced as soon as possible, to provide greater security of transport fuels.
It says New Zealand could begin to develop a home-grown biofuel industry immediately if legislation was enacted to remove barriers and allowed the industry to grow .
The report puts the cost of imported fossil fuels at about $4.5 billion a year. This accounted for almost one third of the deficit on all of New Zealand’s overseas transactions in the year to June.
The 16-member panel, chaired by Genesis biotech research company founder Jim Watson, predicted that this figure would increase as the cost of imported gas and oil continued to ris e.
It said New Zealand’s agricultural industry provided enough tallow to produce the equivalent of less than 5 percent of the country’s diesel consumption.
So, while biofuels could begin from this source, it could not sustain the biofuel market.
Bioethanol could also be manufactured as a fuel source and New Zealand had the potential to produce enough bioethanol to be more than self-sufficient.
“New Zealand’s expertise in agriculture and forestry, good growing conditions and small population imply that we could be one of the few countries in the world than can meet its own biofuels requirements,” the report says.
However, at the moment most vehicles were not warranted to use more than 3 percent biofuel.
Vehicles could easily be redesigned to use renewable fuel.
It would cost relatively little to require new vehicles to be compatible with a higher percentage of biofuels and potentially only a few hundred dollars per vehicle to adapt second hand cars.
Energy consumption would have economic and climatic consequences if New Zealand did not move to renewable energy sources to ease global warming, the repor t s ays.
Climate change in New Zealand was expected to cause increased drought in eastern regions and increased rainfall in western regions, which would affect agriculture.
Water supplies for power generation would also be aff e cted.
As the world moved to carbon restrictions, New Zealand would be able to use its natural resources to maintain a competitive advantage by using low-cost renewable and efficient energy sources.
New Zealand needed to focus on growing non-or-low-carbon emitting electricity generation to reduce emissi ons.
Wind, geothermal and hydro po wer generation were cost-effective and renewable energy sources, which were capable of meeting New Zealand’s future electri city needs.
The report says New Zealand was not only capable of using renewable resources to achieve a long term energy supply, but in doing, it would help New Zealand to be among the economic leaders of the 21st centur y .
Another new report on biofuels, by Rabobank analyst Ingrid Richardson, suggests New Zealand biofuel production would initially have to focus on tallow and whey, as the country lacked the large scale grain industries to provide the raw materials used in the United States and Europe.
Alternatively it could wait until second generation biofuel technology became commercially viable.
NZPAWGTsbnbkk 27/09/06 19-33NZ
Sadly, the Dom Post cut it down to two whole sentences (today, page A3), but hey, that’s life.
We’re also on Scoop and five people this morning, out of the blue, wanted copies. So life is good.