Friday Offcuts 28 April 2023
As part of the upcoming Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 event later in May, a new log chain throwing and tensioning system that’s been designed for truck drivers will be demonstrated. The new system (see video in this week’s story) removes the truck driver from the hazards of throwing chains over their load, it reduces shoulder injuries making the job easier and less physically demanding for the driver and it’s going to allow for heavier chains to be used to secure the load.
In wood products this week, support to increase onshore processing and manufacturing, has been announced on both sides of the Tasman. In Australia, AU$108 million, with grant funding of between AU$1 million and AU$5 million has been awarded through 34 separate grants to timber and wood processors as part of the Accelerate Adoption of Wood Processing Innovation program. And in NZ, a new NZ$57 million fund was announced this week to assist wood producers with feasibility projects and to provide capital support.
Finally, in wood residues utilisation, we cover one of the many projects underway at the moment to better utilise slash from forestry operations. OneFortyOne, in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions at the top of the South Island, has a project underway where they’re collecting larger pieces of slash and binwood (over 600mm long and 100mm wide) not meeting required log grades or dimensions for local sawmills or pulp mills. It’s being stored – and it’s ready for chipping. And from the same region, a well- known forestry manager (now working with one of the largest civil engineering contracting companies in the South Island) looks at the development and uptake of hydrogen fuel cell engines and the option of using wood residues to produce hydrogen rather than using the traditional technology that uses electricity to separate hydrogen from the oxygen in water. That’s it for this week.
This week we have for you:
Climate change consultation now openNew Zealand's Emission reduction plan consultation has begun.
New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission (CCC) released their draft emissions reduction plan advice for consultation last night. An 8-week consultation now follows until 20 June 2023, feedback from which will shape the final advice - to be submitted by 31 December 2023.
The inaugural piece of advice, "Ināia tonu nei" was delivered in May 2021, and this was followed by the Government setting its first emissions reduction plan for 2022-2025 in May 2022 - the first stage in the journey towards New Zealand's long-term targets for 2050; to reduce long-lived greenhouse gas emissions to net zero and to reduce biogenic methane emissions to 24-47% below 2017 levels.
This time round the draft identifies 19 recommendations as priorities in relation to the direction of the policy required in the emissions reduction plan for the second emissions budget period (2026-2030).
Last May, Cabinet agreed the first three emissions budgets, which included offsets from forestry. This year, for the first time the Commission recommended the Government commit to targets for gross emissions reductions, alongside the current net targets.
The Risks of - and to - the ETS
The CCC are concerned about NZ’s over reliance on forestry crowding out gross ("real") emissions reductions. While drawdown of CO2 from the atmosphere remains critical and indeed the CCC highlight the need to create "provide durable incentives for net carbon dioxide removals by forests through to and beyond 2050", this needs to go hand in hand with gross emission reductions. And climate change is expected to increase the risk of forest fires, strong winds, storms, droughts, pests and pathogens – all of which kill trees.
In addition, the NZ ETS structure risks generating a boom, and then a bust for both the emissions price and forestry. This is partly due to the time lags between planting and tree growth. We have seen how the high prices last year contributed to much higher levels of afforestation and land use change.
Whilst the CCC are not discouraging tree planting, they are warning that it will not encourage the level of emissions reductions required.
Carbon Forestry 2023. Related to meeting emissions reductions targets, the country's major Carbon Forestry Conference, Carbon Forestry 2023 is planned to run this year in Rotorua, New Zealand on 29-30 August. To find out more about the planned lineup of speaker presentations, check out the event website or to register your team, click here.
Source: Carbon Match
Opportunity opened for young forestersThis new opportunity (free stuff) comes with a free conference registration – up to ten of them in fact - for this year’s Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 event running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 24-25 May 2023 and for the Environmental Forestry 2023 event running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 20-21 June 2023.
The Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) has teamed up with the WIDE Trust, a charitable Trust formed in 2018 that supports the development and education in New Zealand’s forestry and wood industry sectors.
What’s being offered? To help out younger employees, recent graduates and new entrants into the industry, this new arrangement will enable up to five young employees, recent graduates or students to attend either of the upcoming major events in New Zealand with all major conference expenses being paid.
Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 will appeal to harvesting and wood flow planners, logging and log cartage contractors, forestry managers and forest owners.
Environmental Forestry 2023 will appeal to environmental foresters, operations managers from forest companies and regulatory and compliance staff from regional councils and local government agencies.
Details for each event can be found on the event websites, www.woodtransport.events and www.environmentalforestry.events.
Conditions: Applicants for the complimentary places have to be actively employed within the forestry or log transport industries or in a recognised training scheme, apprenticeship or course. The places are available only to those that haven’t yet registered to attend the conferences. And, to ensure the package is targeting the right person, the applicants should also be 35 years or younger.
What do I do if interested? Places will be filled on a first in-first served basis, provided the eligibility criteria have been met. So, if keen on picking up one of these complimentary available spaces for either of the two major events, Wood Transport& Logistics 2023 OR Environmental Forestry 2023, please make contact with firstname.lastname@example.org.
New automatic chain throwing & tensioning systemWASP, a division of the Trinder Group, with the support of ACC and Forest Growers Research have developed new technology that removes the truck driver from the hazards of throwing chains over their load, allowing for heavier chains to be used. The benefits of this are not just related to health and safety and the reduction in shoulder injuries, but also making the job easier and less physically demanding for the driver.
The new automatic chain throwing and tensioning system (see around the 25 second mark in the attached video to see the new system being used) is one of a raft of new technologies being discussed and demonstrated as part of the upcoming Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 event being run for the forestry and log transport industries in Rotorua, New Zealand on 24-25 May 2023.
Source & Photo: WASP
AU$108 million wood processing grants awardedThe Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the Albanese Government’s delivery of the more than AU$108 million awarded across 34 separate grants to timber and wood processors as part of the Accelerate Adoption of Wood Processing Innovation (AAWPI) program, Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Joel Fitzgibbon said.
The AAWPI grant recipients will undertake a range of innovative projects with the funding including manufacturing products for use across housing and construction, packaging, timber for higher end products and production of activated carbon. Of the 34 grants, four will be going to projects involving first nations organisations.
“AFPA campaigned ahead of last year’s Federal Election for such a manufacturing innovation fund and we were pleased to get a bipartisan commitment for this grants program. Additionally, it will allow processors and manufacturers to pivot and make the most of the opportunities emerging from the national and global boom in demand for sustainably sourced timber and wood fibre products. Over 25 per cent of Australia’s emissions come from construction and using more timber will help Australia meets its emission reduction targets,” Joel Fitzgibbon said.
Grant funding of between AU$1 million and AU$5 million will be awarded to the 34 successful applicants from this financial year until 2025-26, under the AAWPI.
A full list of successful applicants, funding supplied and projects can be viewed here.
Binwood collection – converting slash into biofuelCyclone 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.
Hydrogen - part of a greener use for forestry residuesDavid Robinson is the business development manager for Taylors Contracting and has 18 years of experience in senior management roles in the forestry industry in Nelson Tasman.
OPINION: Toyota NZ has recently been showcasing its hydrogen fuel cell electric car the Toyota Mirai in Nelson. These cars are more commonly seen on the streets of Los Angeles than here in New Zealand, but the sight of one on our roads shows that the global industry is moving towards providing a range of offerings beyond the battery electric cars that we commonly see.
In fact, the real challenge in front of us is how we will power the trucks and bulldozers that do the heavy work in our supply chains and construction industry. In Europe, the early adopters of hydrogen fuel cell engines are the fleets of inner-city buses with engines that run on electricity produced from the chemical reaction of hydrogen binding with oxygen producing an on-street emission of only water.
In New Zealand, the Government is backing the future of hydrogen by assisting with funding the establishment of hydrogen refuelling stations along the length of State Highway 1. The first South Island station is set to be built this year.
However, regional hubs like Nelson will have to wait several years to see their own station under construction. Just like the construction of cycleways led to a boom in cycle sales, the establishment of a refuelling network will pave the way for companies moving to the new energy source. There is even a New Zealand truck manufacturer readying a 54-tonne heavy goods vehicle for market that is powered using fuel cell electric technology.
Although hydrogen is a very lightweight gas it packs a lot of energy, having three times the energy as the same weight of diesel. It can be compressed or liquefied, with the former option being used for vehicles. The tank pressures are very high, and an enormous amount of development has gone into producing tanks that meet vehicle safety standards.
A particularly relevant question for our region, is how new fuels such as hydrogen will be made. Typically, the path to hydrogen is through using electricity to separate the hydrogen from oxygen in water. However, much of New Zealand has limited capacity within its lines network to provide the quantity of energy required for future hydrogen demand.
There are also limits to our network generation capacity at peak loading times. Meanwhile, we are seeing farms being bought and covered in solar panels for hydrogen production which doesn’t seem like the ideal use of land.
This is where there may be an opportunity for wood residues to produce hydrogen. To produce hydrogen from wood, the wood residues are heated in an environment free of oxygen, and this produces a mix of methane and hydrogen. The hydrogen is separated off, and the methane can be used to power the process, or even converted to biodiesel through another process.
NZ$57 million to support onshore wood processingUnlocking the potential of the wood processing sector, growing our economy and contributing to New Zealand’s climate change response is the aim of a new fund announced by Forestry Minister Peeni Henare yesterday.
Speaking at the Wood Processers and Manufacturers Association conference in Rotorua, Peeni Henare said the new NZ$57 million fund would enable the Government to partner with wood processors to co-invest in wood processing capacity to create products like sawn structural timber and engineered wood.
In 2021 wood product manufacturing plus pulp and paper contributed around NZ$3.8 billion to New Zealand’s GDP and wood processing manufacturing alone makes up around 40% of this figure. It is estimated that this funding support will see NZ$500 to $650 million of additional GDP over the life of the fund’s investments.
“The forestry and wood processing sector is central to many of our regional economies and it is past time we capitalised on the opportunities available,” Peeni Henare said. “Over the last two decades, New Zealand’s overall wood processing capacity has remained relatively stable while log volumes available to be processed have doubled.
“Investment in wood processing infrastructure has declined and we are missing out on the potential benefits that processing wood here in New Zealand offers. This fund will support feasibility projects through a ‘catalyst fund’ and provide capital support through an ‘accelerator fund’ to turn this around.
This fund will also help achieve the objectives of the Forestry and Wood Processing Industry Transformation Plan and support the Government’s Economic Plan to build a high-value, high-wage, low-emissions economy.
Post-processing Lidar data no longer the normThe Dutch startup Aerial Precision recently demonstrated its first two sensors with integrated artificial intelligence software. Over the past few years, the company’s innovation efforts have resulted in products that make Lidar cheaper and easier to use.
For example, thanks to real-time point cloud registration, the 3D data is ready as soon as scanning is completed. Two investors – Dutch and Belgian – came on board. There are plans to rapidly add more functionalities.
“Based on our ambition to dramatically improve the way information is extracted from point clouds, in 2018 we founded Aerial Precision and started to design artificial intelligence-driven Lidar systems. These can be mounted on commercial drones, mobile vehicles or operated as handheld devices by humans or robots. We want to offer a better option than photogrammetry: much faster, easier and cheaper,” said Vicente Payo-Ollero, CEO and founder, to clarify the company’s goal.
With his background in electronics engineering and specialized in sensor fusion, guidance, navigation and control of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs or ‘drones’), Payo-Ollero has been active in the development of high-end drone systems, using photogrammetry and Lidar, all around the world. This includes for the production of the seventh season of Game of Thrones, the latest Mission Impossible movie and numerous geophysical surveys.
“There is an important need to generate 3D maps, but the way they are produced is inefficient. So, I started to focus on making a next-generation Lidar system that can be used with any iOS device and generates point clouds within minutes,” he continued. “There will still be situations in which photogrammetry is the best solution, but in many cases our sensors with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) will be the smarter choice.
Visitors to a recent demo day at the airfield saw how the sensor was affixed to the mount – in this case a tripod – before a hangar of aeroplanes and helicopters was scanned by walking up and down once. Then it was connected to an Apple tablet and the 3D colour point cloud was generated within minutes so that the model could be used for measuring purposes.
The same principle was applied for mapping DronePort itself. The lightweight sensor was clicked under a commercially available drone: a DJI M300. No post-processing was necessary, because the processing is done in real time as the Lidar data is collected. “Of course, you still have to ask the authorities for permission to use the drone, but the promise of offering a real, fast alternative is solid,” commented Payo-Ollero. “You plan the flight in advance on your tablet, you go to the site, you conduct the flight and by the time you get inside again, the information is there.”
Genomic tool – a game changer for Radiata pineThe result of research effort that began in 2014, Natalie Graham is holding a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. It is the first large-scale genome- based pedigree identification and genetic selection tool for radiata pine worldwide. It is an affordable and robust genotyping solution that can be used in radiata pine breeding programmes in New Zealand.
The project is a collaboration between Scion, the Radiata Pine Breeding Company and the international Conifer SNP Consortium. The SNP arrays are a game changer for radiata pine breeding, says Scion portfolio leader for Trees for High Volume Wood Products, Andrew Cridge.
“Developing the SNP array significantly reduces the cost of genotyping each pine tree. Being able to genotype individual trees allows tree breeders to use genomic values to select the best trees with improved traits for growth rate, wood quality and enhanced disease resistance qualities,” he says.
Through the use of genomic selection (making decisions based on DNA predictions rather than field trial data), tree breeders can significantly speed up the rate of genetic gain of important production traits.
The importance of this technology advance is considerable. In some ways, the effort began in the 1950s, as geneticists and tree breeders at the (then) Forest Research Institute, together with industry partners, developed methods to identify and genetically select the most superior radiata pine trees. Trees with superior growth and form, resistance to disease and better wood properties such as wood density and structural quality were identified and selected to breed the next generation.
After 70 years of research and ongoing commercial deployment of improved trees, the outcomes are immense. Millions upon millions of radiata pine trees are in production that are more productive, profitable, easier to manage and resilient to disease than previous generations. The cumulative economic benefit to New Zealand over the past decades is significant.
In a 2014 study, Scion geneticists estimated that genetic gain in radiata pine had added multi-billions in income to the national forestry estate. Even that figure was likely too conservative since it did not account for genetic improvement in tree form and branching or wood quality traits.
The development and implementation of the SNP technology is a significant milestone in the long history of conifer breeding in New Zealand. Radiata Pine Breeding Company general manager Darrell O’Brien explains the commercial importance.
“At 90% of the planted forest estate in New Zealand, radiata pine is the most important forestry species in New Zealand. Even with the benefit of decades of breeding advances, genetic improvement is still constrained by the age of the tree at which we can measure a number of the economically important traits – among them are wood volume, stiffness and density.
“Selecting on genomic values rather than waiting for measurements in older trees has the potential to double the rate of genetic gain per unit of time,” says O’Brien. “That means that desirable traits can be improved faster and breeding programmes can respond more quickly to any changes in climate, market requirements or management practices.” Photo: Scion scientist Natalie Graham holds technology that will help shape the future of New Zealand’s radiata pine breeding
NEFD 2022 forests report publishedMPI reports that New Zealand’s net stocked planted production forest covered 1.76 million hectares as at 1 April 2022, an increase from 1.74 million hectares in 2021, though still 70,000 hectares less than in 2003.
The total planted forest standing volume was estimated to be 549 million cubic metres with an average age (area weighted) of 18.6 years, an increase from 531 million cubic meters with an average age (area weighted) of 18.3 years in 2021.
The provisional new planting estimate for the year ending 31 December 2021 is 45,000 hectares, an increase from 34,000 hectares in 2020.
The 45,000ha new exotic planting area is ahead of the 25,000 ha a year to 2035 suggested by the Climate Change Commission, to meet New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emission targets. But the area is still well short of the up to 66,000 ha a year to 2050 envisaged by the Productivity Commission in 2020 to meet those same targets.
For a copy of the full report, click here
Source: Forest Owners Association
NZ indigenous forestry researcher farewelledLike a mighty tōtara tree that stands tall and strong, Greg Steward has been celebrated for his resilience, endurance and passion for advancing New Zealand’s knowledge of indigenous forestry over nearly five decades.
The Scion scientist, who is the first to admit he failed science and left school at 16, was farewelled by dozens of current and former colleagues at a special function at Te Whare Nui o Tuteata this month to mark his retirement - 49 years after joining the New Zealand Forest Service as a trainee woodsman. During the event many people paid tribute to Greg’s unrivalled expertise that saw him carve out an extraordinary research career that focused on managing kauri, tōtara and indigenous hardwoods in plantations.
The turnout reflected the standing in which Steward is held as Scion’s and possibly New Zealand’s longest serving indigenous forestry researcher. His legacy will be built on through the work of other scientists who are now ‘picking up the baton’ and championing the value of indigenous trees for their economic potential and special timber qualities.
But despite entering retirement, Steward’s expertise won’t be lost after he has agreed to serve as an Emeritus scientist – a mentoring role that enables him to keep sharing his considerable knowledge. Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder made the announcement at his farewell to a round of delighted applause.
“We’re so pleased that Greg will be joining our growing cadre of Emeritus researchers who, while officially in a new phase of their lives, continue to serve our science community,” he said. During the farewell, people shared fond recollections of working with Steward in the field and stories of how his research had changed the way that people view indigenous forestry in New Zealand.
“Through Greg’s research, we’ve been able to appreciate indigenous trees for reasons other than conservation; to make that difference is amazing,” said principal scientist Dr Brian Richardson. “It’s remarkable to see how that has benefited our organisation, New Zealand forestry and society.”
Heavy electric truck market in Europe grows by 200%Volvo Trucks have now sold more than 4 300 electric trucks globally in more than 38 countries. Last year, the number of heavy electric trucks on the roads in Europe and the United States grew faster than ever before. In Europe, Volvo Trucks is a market leader with a 32% share of the market for heavy electric trucks, and in North America, nearly half of all heavy electric trucks registered in 2022 were Volvo trucks.
In 2022 the market for heavy (≥16 tonnes) electric trucks in Europe, grew by 200% to 1,041 trucks, and Volvo Trucks holds the highest share of this market. Although, the market for electric trucks is still small, the trend is clear: many customers are now starting their own shift to electric. Volvo aims to be the catalyst for this transition and aims for 50% of their global sales of new trucks to be electric in 2030.
Since Volvo Trucks started production of fully electric trucks in 2019, the company has sold more than 4 300 electric trucks in more than 38 countries around the world.
Source: Volvo Trucks
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... and one to end the week on ... the silver years contd.
- I'm at a place in my life where errands are starting to count as going out.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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