Biofuel Industry Critical to New Zealand’s Energy Future


Pure Advantage says that the Government should be congratulated for its on-going support of the New Zealand biofuels industry which is a vital economic development measure to encourage the use of environmentally responsible fuels.

Geoff Ross, Pure Advantage Trustee, says that New Zealand has an opportunity to become a leader in biofuels and export its knowledge and services worldwide.

“The Government’s on-going assistance will help New Zealand avoid the escalating cost of imported fuel by developing our own innovative biofuel industry and allow this country to become more self-sufficient. In addition, it also means that a developing biofuels industry will build capabilities which we can then export to the world,” says Ross.

Ross adds that New Zealand has huge potential to grow its biofuels industry so now is not the time to reduce support.

“New Zealand is blessed with the natural advantage of having a wide range of sustainable non-food materials to produce biofuels from, such as whey as a by-product of the dairy industry to woody mass from pine trees. We can be a leader in biofuel and the abundance of natural biomass which can be used to develop bioenergy and so the on-going support of Government will be critical to that.”

“We spend about the same on fuel imports as we generate from our meat exports, so all the hard work done by our farmers doesn’t even pay the gas bill.  That makes no sense at all. Shouldn’t we find other ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels?”

 “Dr. Trevor Stuthridge and the team at Scion Research is doing a lot of innovative research looking at how using, for example, New Zealand’s forestry stocks could reduce the level of imported fossil fuels. New Zealand has an abundance of agricultural waste such as wheat, straw, and timber which is often just dumped, burned or put in landfill but this can be converted to transportation fuel. According to Dr. Stuthridge the Bay of Plenty alone has wood waste that could produce 87 million litres of biofuel* not to mention the jobs that would also be created around this industry.”

Ross notes that many countries around the world, including Australia, have invested in developing their own biofuel industries.

These countries, including our neighbours, are supporting biofuel schemes as part of a strategy to decrease their dependence on imported oil. The Australian Government, for example, invested $15 million into a biofuels research and development programme and also released the Strategic Framework for Alternative Transport Fuels in December 2011 that establishes a long term approach to a market led adoption of alternative transport fuels in Australia.

“New Zealand simply cannot afford to fall behind with what other countries are doing to develop biofuels.”


About the author

Pure Advantage

Pure Advantage

Pure Advantage functions as both a generator and communicator of knowledge, undertaking and supporting a variety of green growth-focused research activities and outputs. Through this work, we seek to disseminate cutting-edge theory and practice that will transform how New Zealanders understand and manage the relationship between the environment and the economy.

We advocate for economic models that generate both profitability and positive social and environmental outcomes. In promoting these models we seek to uphold the ethical imperatives of impact investment while also dispelling any lingering misconceptions around wealth creation and environmental protection being contradictory goals.

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