Friday Offcuts – 22 February 2013

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We’ve often talked about the growing importance (or recognition) of science, research and innovation to the future prosperity of the forest products sector. In a recent Primary Sector Review in New Zealand comment was made that “true innovation is broader and deeper than just doing more R&D. It’s about exploring innovative approaches and technology uptake, marketing and production in new, novel and profitable ways”.

In an earlier issue we reported on the recent launch of a new institute (known as Callaghan Innovation) in New Zealand. It brings together under one – or several roofs – Government and research institutes. It has been set up specifically to encourage new, high value, high-tech products (including high value wood products) and services across science, engineering, design and technology disciplines. In Australia this week (see story below) the Government announced its own Industry and Innovation Statement. Included in the AU$1 billion of initiatives laid out is a very similar plan to New Zealand’s. It's going to be investing more than AU$500 million to establish up to 10 Industry Innovation Precincts. The objective - to bring firms, research institutions, technology experts and business service providers together.

From the US story this week we’ve got a similar story. U.S. President Barack Obama in last week’s State of the Union address called for a level of science and technology research "not seen since the height of the space race". He wants to set up numerous “hubs” or manufacturing innovation institutes. Science, research and innovation are seen now as key levers to the future growth and long term competitveness of each country's economy. How it’s being funded, how it’s being undertaken and how the results or outcomes are going to be integrated with businesses is also changing – and for the better.

Finally, TODAY early-bird registrations close to this region’s two yearly update on wood residues and CleanTECH technologies, Residues to Revenues 2013. Related to wood residues is the announcement that the well- known personality, Te Radar, has been lined up as the after-dinner presenter for the New Zealand leg of this mid-April series. We also have a link to a new report showing how New Zealand’s growing bio-energy sector could save the country over NZ$7 billion each year by 2035. Remember, if you or some of your staff plan on attending, look at registering by the end of the day to access those registration discounts.

Last comments. For those in Melbourne this weekend check out the opening of the AU$11 million, 10-storey building in Docklands. It’s a showpiece in this part of the world for cross-laminated timber construction and may well be the last opportunity for you to get right through the building. And yes, it was two years to the day that the second and most devastating of the Christchurch earthquakes shook the city and its residents. The long rebuild continues.

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Carbon market close to collapse

New Zealand’s carbon market has almost collapsed according to Carbon News 2013. Prices for spot NZUs set a new low late last week, breaking the NZ$2 floor for the first time. Some international units were trading as low as 15 cents.

Sentiments expressed by Carbon Match founder Lizzie Chambers in her weekly newsletter - she describes the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme as “suffering a lack of credibility in the eyes of landowners” and predicts a price race to the bottom – are echoed privately by others in the market.

The planting of forest is a critical part of the Government’s plan to reduce New Zealand’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. The ETS is supposed to encourage this, by providing foresters with an extra income stream.

But rock-bottom prices (from more than NZ$20 for a spot NZU in early 2011) has seen major forest owners back away from it. Others have implored Prime Minister John Key to intervene to stop the flow of cheap carbon into the country.

Last month, Carbon News reported that foresters are now leaving the scheme. The Government has instructed officials to find other ways of encouraging afforestation, such as a return to the Afforestation Grants Scheme.

Source: Carbon News 2013

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Wood energy at heart of clean energy opportunities

New Zealand’s energy sector could give the economy a multi-billion dollar boost and create tens of thousands of new jobs, according to a report released last week. Up to 30,000 jobs could be created in areas such as the geothermal and bioenergy industries says the report, which is based on scientific modelling carried out by experts in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The analysis shows that the geothermal industry alone could be worth over NZ$4 billion to the economy every year. A growing bioenergy sector will see New Zealand becoming increasingly less reliant on foreign oil imports, saving the country over NZ$7 billion each year by 2035.

The number of people employed directly by the renewable electricity and heating industries will soar, says the report, from under 5,000 in 2010 to over 10,000 in 2030. And, as these are only the people directly employed, the actual overall employment boost to the country’s economy will be far higher, as suppliers and associated sectors also get a lift. For example, using New Zealand’s forest crops to create a bioenergy sector would not only save billions of dollars in oil imports, but could also generate 27,000 jobs.

The report, called The Future is Here: New Jobs, New Prosperity and a New Clean Economy warns that other countries are also vying to become ‘leaders in this new global clean technology economy’ as a ‘global clean energy race is underway’. New Zealand has, the report states, ‘the natural resources and people’ to create ‘huge wealth…by creating an economy based on 100% renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.’

The report is timely as the Forest Industry Engineering Association is running its biennial wood energy conference series - RESIDUES TO REVENUES & CLEANTECH 2013 INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS" in April in Auckland and Melbourne. Check out for details and to register - early bird rates still apply!

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All NZ forests to be monitored for foreign bugs

All New Zealand forest plantations will be brought into a nationwide forest health surveillance scheme if next month’s referendum of forest growers is successful. “A yes vote in the referendum will see a small compulsory levy applied to harvested logs. Broadening the reach of the surveillance scheme will be one of the big benefits,” says Paul Nicholls, a Forest Growers Levy Trust board member.

“Forests owned by members of the Forest Owners Association have been monitored for exotic pests and diseases for more than 50 years. But new bugs don’t discriminate. We need to be monitoring forests on the basis of a scientific assessment of risk, not because they are owned by a member of an industry association.”

Increased international trade and air travel mean that biosecurity threats are spreading more rapidly around the world. Among them are pests and diseases that could devastate our plantation and native forests. Mr Nicholls strongly advises forest growers to vote yes in the referendum.

"That will bring the vast majority of our commercial forests into the forest health surveillance scheme and other programmes that benefit the industry as a whole. Relative to the massive financial losses that could result from a major pest becoming established in New Zealand, the levy will be very affordable insurance."

The Forest Voice referendum is being held in March. For details, visit

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High-value opportunities for lignin

Addressing markets worth more than $130 billion worldwide, researchers say that lignin from trees could become the main renewable aromatic resource for the chemical industry in the future. The first opportunity could emerge as early as 2015 from the direct substitution of phenol in most of its industrial applications: phenolic resins, surfactants, epoxy resins, adhesives or polyester.

"The industry is just beginning to scratch the surface of lignin's potential," explains Frost & Sullivan consultant, Nicolas Smolarski: "It is the only renewable source for industrial aromatics production and is de-correlated from the fluctuating price of oil."

Lignin represents 30 per cent of all the non-fossil organic carbon on Earth. Its availability exceeds 300 billion tonnes, increasing annually by around 20 billion tonnes. A high quantity of lignin is found in wood, in which it represents 20–35 per cent in terms of weight. Compared to other wood components (cellulose and hemicelluloses), it is a much more complex polymer, but has been considered for a long time a low-quality and low-added-value material.

For example, as of 2010, the pulp and paper industry alone produced an estimated 50 million tonnes of extracted lignin, but only 2 per cent (1 million tonnes) was commercially used for low-value products such as dispersing or binding agents; the rest was burnt as a low-value fuel. Overall, the lignin business today represents roughly 300 million dollars.

However, new, developing technologies now allow the extraction of high-purity lignin which can be converted in various high-value chemicals and products, among which are BTX (Benzene, Toluene, Xylene), phenol, vanillin or carbon fibre.

Smolarski explains that "one of lignin's unique strength is that it can either be used directly as a 'drop in' to replace phenols in an existing petrochemical process, or it can be further processed to create polymer building blocks."

Inevitably, unlocking the potential of lignin involves taking down some barriers. "Limited technology maturity, weak links between R&D efforts and the industry, bio-fuel development draining government mandates and lack of funding options for bio-chemicals bio-refiners are some of the main challenges to the emergence of cost-competitive lignin applications," adds Smolarski.

For more information, check out this month's R&D Works Newsletter

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Obama Calls for more tech research

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a level of science and technology research "not seen since the height of the space race". In his State of the Union address last week Obama credited several innovative companies and new technologies, including Apple and 3D-printing (part of the WoodEXPO 2013 focus this year), with helping to spark growth in the American economy.

"There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend," Obama said in his prepared remarks. He continued;

"Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D-printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns. So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of fifteen of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America."

Obama pushed back against lawmakers who would cut research and development spending as a means of easing the country's debt: "Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation," he said. Obama then went on to propose cutting "the energy wasted by our homes and businesses" by half over the next two decades.

"Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean-energy market and the jobs that came with it," he said. "We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more."

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Tallest timber apartment building opening today

Lend Lease will be launching its AU$11 million, 10-storey tower Forte at Victoria Harbour in Melbourne today and tomorrow. Further details on the festival to launch the building can be found here. The complex, with 23 apartments and ground floor retail space, is a showpiece for cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is manufactured using layers of timber to create solid panels.

According to Lend Lease the material reduced CO2 emissions by more than 1600 tonnes compared to structures built from concrete and steel. "The state of the art production processes of CLT ensure a very high precision outcome compared to steel or pouring concrete on-site," the company's operational excellence head Daryl Patterson said.

"Using CLT offers better thermal performance and requires less energy to heat and cool which means reduced energy and water costs which averages savings of $300 per year or up to 25 per cent less than a typical code-compliant apartment," Mr Patterson said.

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Te Radar at Residues to Revenues 2013

With registrations now flowing in steadily for the Forest Industry Engineering Association
(FIEA) Residues to Revenues/CleanTECH
conference series, it has been confirmed that the after dinner speaker will be
well-known and self-titled "Opinionist", Te Radar for the Auckland event.

Te Radar
was in Rotorua in mid-December filming footage for the second season in his TV series on
sustainability. Radar and his film crew were hosted by Russell Brown and Karl Rodgers of
Jensen Logging in Kaingaroa Forest early one fine morning in December. Radar was
gobsmacked with the technology employed in forest harvesting.

Next stop for the
modest TV series host was Shane Hookers wood recovery and residues operations at Red
Stag Timber's Waipa millsite in Rotorua. Shane's team was joined by the Red Stag
environmental manager Tim Charleston. Te Radar got to film how wood energy is important
to the whole site energy balance.

Finally the team took their cameras out to
Rotoiti Forest where Shane's binwood operations were the focus and discussion turned to the
massive opportunities which are still out there for further wood residues to be re-integrated
into the pulp, paper and wood energy sectors.

Te Radar is an award winning
satirist, documentary maker, writer, stage and screen director, failed gardener, and amateur
historian. He is also the star of six top rating TVNZ programmes, Radar Across the Pacific,
Global Radar, Radar’s Patch, Off the Radar, Homegrown and Hidden In The Numbers. New
series of both Global Radar and Radar Across the Pacific are currently in production.

He has twice won the Qantas Media Award for Best Humour Column for his New Zealand
Herald columns and he has published a book of his experience’s with sustainable living, Off
The Radar: A Man, A Plan, and a Paddock.

Radar is a valuable addition to the
Residues to Revenues 2013 line up. In his role of After-dinner Speaker he is sure to be a
captivating speaker and deliver a few laughs along the way.

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Australian Government establishing Innovation Precincts

The Australian Government announced its Industry and Innovation Statement A Plan for Australian Jobs (Plan) on 17 February 2013. The Plan forms the Government’s response to the report of the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Manufacturing.

The Plan details up to AU$1 billion in initiatives funded by the Government from a proposed change in the application of the existing R&D Tax Incentive. Very large businesses with annual turnovers of AU$20 billion or more will no longer be eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive but will be eligible to claim their R&D expenditure under general tax law provisions. Alternatively companies with a turnover of less than AU$20 million doing eligible R&D will be able to receive an uncapped fully refundable offset if they are in tax loss.

The Plan details the following three strategies:

1. Backing Australian industry to win more work at home - establish a new Australian Industry Participation Authority, legislating Australian Industry Participation (AIP) arrangements, and continued reforms to the anti-dumping system;
2. Supporting Australian industry to win new business abroad - invest more than AU$500 million in establishing up to 10 Industry Innovation Precincts bringing firms, research institutions, technology experts and business service providers together; and
3. Helping Australian small and medium businesses - a new AU$350 million round of the Innovation Investment Fund for innovative Australian start-up companies, provide focused support for SMEs with high growth potential, and extension of the Enterprise Connect program for SMEs.

Opportunities for the forest, wood and paper products industries are initially seen in aspects of the AIP arrangements, particularly local sourcing for wood and paper products for Government contracts and projects, implementing anti-dumping system reforms, accessing ’Industry Innovation Precincts’ capacity, and SME initiatives.

Source: AFPA Canopy

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Australian recycling plant breaks new ground

The Hon Peter Hall, Minister for Higher Education and Member for Eastern Victoria, and Mr Jim Henneberry, CEO, Australian Paper, joined Mr Yoshio Haga, President of Nippon Paper Group on 15 February at a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a AU$90 million recycling plant at Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill.

“Today’s ground-breaking ceremony marks the first stage of construction and Australian Paper acknowledges the confidence that our parent company Nippon Paper, the Victorian Government and the Australian Government have shown in local manufacturing by supporting this plant,” Mr Jim Henneberry, CEO, Australian Paper said.

“The Maryvale recycling plant is a key part of our strategy, and will create more than 960 FTE jobs during its construction. Once in operation, the recycling plant is expected to contribute $51 million to gross domestic product each year, and support 246 FTE flow on jobs.

Guests at the event toured Maryvale Mill and inspected the recycling plant site. Construction work on the site will commence during February and the plant is expected to be fully operational in early 2014. The plant will generate 50,000 tonnes of premium recycled pulp each year, diverting up to 80,000 tonnes of wastepaper from Australian landfill; equivalent to more than 16 billion sheets of A4 office paper every year.

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Unions up the anti on forestry's safety record

CTU has launched a YouTube clip and campaign aimed at trying to get the New Zealand Government to agree to an inquiry into the forestry industry, and to implementing health and safety and employment standards that stop the deaths and injuries of forestry workers.

Helen Kelly said "forestry is the most dangerous industry in New Zealand. In 2013 there have already been two deaths - since 2008, 23 workers have died and almost 900 have been seriously injured. Each death is a family, community, workplace losing someone who was loved. Each injury is someone's life being changed forever by something that happened at work."

"We need to bring attention to this, the government and the industry to step up and stop this from happening." CTU last night (Monday) launched a YouTube clip of Caroline and Roger Callow talking about the tragic death of their son, Ken Callow, at work, and are using the One Big Voice website to raise funds for a billboard campaign to draw attention to the dangers in the sector.

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China’s forestry output climbs 21% in 2012

According to information from a recent conference of heads of national provincial forestry departments, the total output value of China’s forest products industry is forecast to have increased by 21% to RMB3.7 trillion in 2012.

The Chinese forestry and forest industry sectors continue to drive development momentum despite being adversely affected by the weak global economy. The RMB3.5 trillion output target set by government for the sectors in the Twelfth Five Year Forestry Development Plan has been achieved three years ahead of the schedule.

The output values of the forestry and forest products sectors in Shandong, Guagndong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces are expected to have exceeded RMB300 billion in 2012. Output from the national forests products sector continued to expand in 2012.

It is expected that, when the final figures are compiled, log output will be more than 80 million cubic metres, the output of wood-based panel could reach more than 200 million cubic metres and the output of other forest based industries could be as high as 146 million tonnes.

Source: ITTO TTM Report January 2013

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More NZ fire-fighters head to Victoria

Another 22 specialist forest firefighters left on Tuesday to help fight the Victoria bushfires. They will join the 44 who left last week to relieve Australian firefighters working in the Gippsland area.

National Rural Fire Authority Operations Manager Gary Lockyer said Victoria is experiencing a difficult fire season with two major fires burning and a number of smaller fires in the west of the State.

“Like our deployment last week, today’s team is drawn from the forestry sector and from the Department of Conservation. They are all well qualified and keen to help their Australian colleagues.”

Each team will spend at least two weeks away. Mr Lockyer said New Zealand has the capacity to send more firefighters if they are requested, without it impacting on the resources available to deal with any rural fires in this country. In January, 13 firefighters were sent to help fight bushfires in remote areas of Tasmania.
More >>

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Wood Preservation Standard updated

Standards New Zealand recently published Amendment 5 to NZS 3640:2003 Chemical preservation of round and sawn timber. Click here for more information.

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Canadian forest products look to global construction industry

On Wednesday 14 February the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and its partners released their landmark Construction Value Pathways initiative, exploring new and unique opportunities for the Canadian forest products industry to gain a larger share of the $8 trillion a year global construction market.

The Construction Value Pathways project is ground breaking market research that has identified key trends in the global construction industry and sets the forest products industry's sights on diversifying with more advanced products and pre-fabricated construction solutions of the highest environmental quality.

FPAC and its partners undertook the initiative in order to examine how to diversify the lumber industry beyond its traditional markets and suite of products.
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Buy and Sell

...and one to end the week or truck?

This is the perfect example of why we save everything. This car has been built with all of the “junk” laying out back in the pile, and under the work bench, and stuffed in the rafters.. Anybody recognize the manure spreader? All this guy needed was a little time on his hands. “An idle mind is the devil's Workshop”.....

How cool is this? Look closely at all the various components.

Spotted in Cannon Falls, MN on 5/23/12 – It’s a car or is it a truck?

Milk can fuel tank

Check out the “gearing wheel”.... What do you see?
Dash is a saw blade with handles attached - tractor hand brake - tachometer - 2 mirrors mounted on horse shoes - big truck signal switch mounted on left - single wiper motor

How many men who grew up on a farm are now thinking – Why didn’t we do that?

Cow milking aperatus on air cleaner - galvanized wash tub fan shroud

Tractor wrench bracket for headlamp housing

Rear seats from toilet with stereo speakers below them - Newhome seat backs

The rear lamp frame built from chicken feeder - manure spreader drive is still intact - horse shoe door hinges

Tractor seats with pitchfork backs - seat belts - tractor compartment box behind driver seat - gear shift beside hand brake, stereo & cd player on dash blade - the drive chains are still on the floor.

And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904
Level Two, 2 Dowling Street
Dunedin, New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 470 1902
Fax: +64 3 470 1904
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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