Bioenergy has become an attractive, cost-effective energy alternative to gas and electricity, with its potential use being considered by industrial hubs, regional hospitals, nursing homes, aquatic centres, schools, shopping centres and housing subdivisions.
Bioenergy is usually generated from organic waste from agricultural, municipal, industrial and forestry sources that would otherwise add pressure to waste processing facilities or the environment.
The bioenergy process allows these sectors to turn waste into a saleable product, which supports local economies and employment.
The Tasmanian Government’s Energy Strategy recognises the current and potential future role for bioenergy in Tasmania, and in 2018 the Tasmanian Wood Encouragement Policy was introduced to incentivise the generation of bioenergy from forestry residues.
What is Bioenergy?
There are two main forms of bioenergy; combustion and anaerobic digestion (AD). These processes can produce energy to make heat (e.g. steam, hot water), electricity and even provide cooling. Bioenergy can be used in industrial processes, to manage the temperature in buildings and supply base load electricity to the grid.
Large scale combustion of waste in furnaces is now a viable energy source for commercial and industrial applications. Dry biomass such as wood, agricultural, municipal and other wastes can be burned in a boiler to generate energy.
Damp organic waste materials can be transformed into energy in anaerobic digesters. In AD, bacteria transforms wet waste into biogas in an oxygen deficient environment. Biogas can be used in place of natural gas from the grid to fire boilers. Biogas can also be generated from high organic content waste waters.
The Australian Biomass to Bioenergy Assessment Program (ABBA)
In 2016, the Australian Government launched the Australian Biomass to Bioenergy Assessment project (ABBA). This project will deliver a national database identifying and mapping biomass resources across the country.
The Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure database can be found here.
As part of this project, a biomass resource audit has been conducted of Tasmania’s organic wastes, detailing sources, stockpiles, production per annum, and estimated future production. The project will also identify locations, quantities, specifications and ownership of the full range of biomass materials with bioenergy potential.
This project has been part-funded with a $240 000 grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which is undertaking the ABBA project.
Dorset Woody Biomass Pre-Feasibility Study 2013 - Addendum - May 2017
A regional review of wood product availability from private native forest resources surround Scottsdale. Prepared for the Coordinator General's Office, Department of State Growth on behalf of Private Forests Tasmania by Jeremy Wilson, Esk Mapping & GIS.
This document is an addendum to the 'Dorset Woody Biomass Pre-feasibility Study' commissioned in 2013 which aimed to provide regional context to strategic estimates of resource availability from the non-industrial private native forest estate (NIPNF). This addendum utilised the GIS models developed in the 2013 study to estimate the potential volumes and availability of a broader range of wood products likely to be available from the NIPNF resource in the Dorset region.
Current and potential use of forest biomass for energy in Tasmania 2015
Research paper by Andreas Rothe, Dr Martin Moroni, Mark Neyland and Matthias Wilnhammer.
Residue Solutions Project - Forecast Residues January 2014
Forecast residue flows from forest harvesting and timber processing have been estimated by Forestry Tasmania (for publically managed forests) and Private Forests Tasmania (for privately managed forests). The forecast residues detailed in this 2014 report have been used as input into other projects
Huon Wood Biomass Pre-Feasibility Study 2013
A regional inventory of potential woody biomass resources surrounding Huonville.
Prepared for Huon Valley Diversified Industries Incorporated by Esk Mapping and GIS on behalf of Private Forests Tasmania and the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts
Dorset Woody Biomass Pre-Feasibility Study 2013
A regional inventory of potential woody biomass resources surrounding Scottsdale
Prepared for Dorset Renewable Industries Pty Ltd by Esk Mapping on behalf of Private Forests Tasmania and the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts
Forest biomass for energy: Current and potential use in Tasmania and a comparison with European experience
Report on the Sabbatical Project by Prof. Dr. Andreas Rothe
Tasmania a place of opportunity for Biomass
Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts brochure promoting Tasmania as a place of opportunity for Biomass project developers and investors - 2014
Use of Wood Residues for Heating
The use of wood residues for heating by agencies from all levels of government has a great but largely unrealised potential in Tasmania and other cooler Australian regions. This escellent story from New Zealand was published in the weekly electronic forest industry newsletter 'WoodWeek' and it serves as an excellent reminder of what untapped potential there is to reap benefits in regional economic growth, employment and environment if we take this seriously.
PFT thanks John Stulen and WoodWeek (www.woodweek.com/dsp_subscribe.cfm) for permission to reproduce this story.