Friday Offcuts – 22 July 2022

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In the technology event space this week, we’ve got many of our readers heading into Rotorua next week for the long awaited Residues2Revenues 2022 workshops, conference and exhibitions. As well as a record turn-out of local forestry and wood harvesting contractors, we’ve also got a large contingent from outside New Zealand who’ll also be linking to join remotely. As anticipated, with carbon forests and new planting dominating the headlines over the last 6-12 months, interest in this year’s major Carbon Forestry 2022 event being held on 9-10 August from across the forestry and investment communities likewise, has also been outstanding. Another very full house is being predicted for next month.

Following on from last week’s story of the world’s first electric log truck being put into service on Sweden’s roads, we have more on the roll out of autonomous or self-driving trucks. In the US, new prototypes are currently being put through their paces on the highways of the U.S.'s largest truck freight market, Texas. Aurora Innovation, the company behind the testing, is aiming for 20 trucks to be on the highways without a human on board by the end of next year. Along with the many other trials underway right now, if successful, this technology is going to unleash a "complete transformation” of the logistics landscape.

In our part of the world, New Zealand’s (and possibly the world’s) first electric milk tanker is entering Fonterra’s fleet and the country’s first hydrogen truck rolls out onto the highway. One of the country's largest heavy transport fleets also announced that they're de-carbonising with hydrogen technology. Their plan is to have ten dual-fuel (up to 40% of the diesel is being replaced with hydrogen) hydrogen diesel trucks on the road by the second quarter of next year followed shortly afterwards, by a hydrogen refuelling network across New Zealand. And in Australia, HIF Global announced last week that they're seeking approval to build the country's first large- scale, carbon-neutral eFuels (electricity-based fuels) production facility in north-west Tasmania. When and if it's fully operational, it’s expected to be producing up to 100 million litres of eFuels per year.

Keeping with the technology theme, for drones (UAVs) this week, the Scots have been working behind the scenes on their own unique heavy-lift UAV. They’re promising that it’s going to obliterate the power and range of electric drones. Their new design uses a Rotax engine and bent-axis hydraulic motors similar to those used on tree harvesters and it’s already lifting 95kg in testing. Already, they’re promising an extraordinary 900km of range and more than six hours of endurance, as well as a huge 150 kg max payload. We’ve built in a recent video of “Big ol' Bessie” being put through her paces stacked up with 95kg of weightlifting plates and holding a hover. And that’s it for this week.

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HIF Announces E-Fuels plant for Tasmania

HIF Global begins approval process for its first carbon neutral eFuels manufacturing facility in Australia

From Australia, HIF Global, one of the world’s leading eFuels companies, has announced that it has begun the development of Australia’s first large-scale, carbon-neutral eFuels production facility in Tasmania. HIF Asia Pacific, a wholly owned subsidiary of HIF Global, filed a Notice of Intent (NoI) with the Tasmanian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) seeking approval for the facility, which will be located in north-west Tasmania.

Cesar Norton, President and CEO of HIF Global, said, “Our global plan is to produce over 8 billion litres a year of carbon neutral eFuels – enough to decarbonise 5 million vehicles.

Australia represents our third decarbonisation hub around the world. Australia has exceptional renewable energy resources that can be transformed into liquid fuels and used in existing engines. Today, we begin the first step in Tasmania to produce hydrogen from renewable energy, capture carbon dioxide from a biogenic source and produce highly competitive eFuels that will be the carbon neutral energy of tomorrow.”

HIF Asia Pacific CEO Ignacio Hernandez explained, “At full operations, the HIF Tasmania facility is expected to produce up to 100 million litres per year of carbon neutral eFuels, reducing global CO2 emissions by approximately 260,000 tons per year, the equivalent of decarbonising 52,000 cars on the road today. We expect to begin construction in 2024, prioritising local employment and technology. We look forward to working with our Australian partners as we develop this facility, which will help revolutionise the decarbonisation of global transportation.”

The HIF Tasmania Carbon Neutral eFuel Facility will be located approximately 30 km south of Burnie. With 250 megawatts of electrolyser capacity and at least 40 years of operating life, the facility design is similar to other eFuels facilities in Chile and the United States that HIF Global is preparing for construction in 2023. The HIF Tasmania facility has been designed to be emissions free, with the water for electrolysis primarily extracted from biowaste.

About eFuels

Electricity based fuels, or eFuels, are clean, carbon neutral fuels produced from renewable energy, green hydrogen and carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere. eFuels have the same chemical properties as fossil-based fuels and, as a result, can be used as direct substitutes in existing engines and infrastructure.

Source: HIF Global

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Energy demands of dairy factories met – 6x over

There is enough energy left over in forestry residues and other woody waste, such as from orchards, surplus pulp logs, and sawmill chip, to entirely replace the heat and energy demands of all New Zealand’s dairy factories, six times over.

Next week – as part of New Zealand’s Residues to Revenues 2022 event - just how much and where the wood residues resource is concentrated will be outlined to those attending the conference, workshops and exhibitions – all 300 of you.

New Zealand, with its abundance of hill country, is suitable for growing forests and its expertise in fast-growing plantation forestry could become a world leading example of sustainable bioenergy. A pair of Scion studies titled Strategic Review of Short Rotation Bioenergy Forests (December 2021) and Residual biomass fuel projections for New Zealand (January 2022) tackled the big questions of where our woody bioenergy reserves currently are, how we can grow the supply using short rotation forestry and where that energy is best used.

Having enough feedstock to fuel a bioenergy industry is essentially the green light at the start of a national bioenergy roadmap. Under the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019, the Government has set a 2050 target of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (other than biogenic methane).

Planting trees is a proven and immediately available way of removing carbon from the atmosphere. If managed on a sustained yield basis (i.e. harvested timber volumes are replaced by new growth) and using best practice forestry, these trees are both a carbon store and a source of endlessly renewable low carbon bioenergy.

Scion bioenergy researcher Peter Hall says replacing fossil fuels with bioenergy alternatives from trees and other biological sources will not only help New Zealand meet our greenhouse gas emission targets and meet international obligations, it will also rejuvenate regional economies and make us less dependent on imported fossil fuels.

Large industries look for sustainable alternatives

While pastoral agriculture and transport are largely visible greenhouse gas emitters, few people give much thought to the energy that is used to power our largest industries. Much of that energy is process heat. That is, any heat generated in the manufacturing of a product. It accounts for 35 percent of our total energy consumption.

This energy is mainly used to power dairy factories, meat processing plants, sawmills, pulp and paper mills and other food processing plants. Process heat makes up around nine percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions. It may not seem like much, but those emissions tend to be clumped around a few large manufacturers rather than distributed over millions of vehicles or livestock. Some of those larger industries are making the switch away from coal and toward more sustainable alternatives.

In September 2020, Fonterra announced that its Te Awamutu dairy processing factory switched from using coal to fuelling the boiler with wood pellets. This is the largest coal to biofuels conversion project to date in New Zealand. The move away from coal at Te Awamutu is part of Fonterra’s plans to have net zero emissions at its manufacturing sites by 2050.

Residual biomass resources

In January, Hall released a Scion report estimating the potential for woody biomass to fuel New Zealand industry using process heat.

Hall calculated that the biomass from all woody sources in New Zealand is significant and amounts to 181 petajoules (PJ) produced each year. This is more than enough to replace all fossil fuels used in process heat in New Zealand – which is about 109 PJ worth. Hall’s bioenergy estimate includes excess pulp and K grade logs as well as sawmill chip, for which there is already a market, so excluding these sources from the analysis reduces the biomass energy supply to 62 PJ or around 55 percent of the energy needed to displace coal and gas from process heat.

Photo: Fonterra employees Jonathon Milne and Kevin Liao during the wood pellet trial at the Te Awamutu milk processing plant. Photo: Fonterra

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Source: Scion

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Another unique opportunity for young foresters

Very rarely do you get anything for free. Here is one offer though. This new opportunity comes with a free conference registration – five of them in fact for each event being run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) during 2022. 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.

FIEA conferences and exhibitions have set a benchmark for years. They are the leading series of technology related events, run in both New Zealand and Australia, where new and emerging technologies, operating practices and research are able to be regularly showcased to local companies. They’re always well supported. After 24 years, they’ve been able to build up strong communities of like-minded individuals that meet up once a year – or every second year. Newsletters, have been set up to complement the tech events with three industry-focused monthly newsletters going out each month now to around 6,000 readers for each newsletter.

So, what’s being offered? To help out younger employees, recent graduates and new entrants into the industry, this new arrangement will enable five young employees, recent graduates or students to attend upcoming major technology events with all major conference expenses being paid. So, free beer and food as well as the opportunity of learning about new technology, staying abreast with the very latest in research and operating practices, learning about emerging technologies (within and outside our own industry) and networking (with senior management, tech providers and your counterparts from across the country). Now that’s an offer just too good not to look at further.

The offer was well and truly over subscribed for our first two events with students and young graduates from Northland through to Canterbury picking up registrations for the recent events, Environmental Forestry that ran in late June and Residues to Revenues 2022 planned to run on 26-27 July. The offer now is open to complimentary registrations to two more major forestry events, Carbon Forestry 2022, planned for Rotorua, New Zealand on 9-10 August 2022 and ForestTECH 2022 which will run in Rotorua on 15-16 November 2022. Details for each event can be found on the event websites, and

Conditions: Applicants for the five places for each of the first two events have to be actively employed within the forestry or wood products industries or in a recognised training scheme, apprenticeship or course. 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 the three available spaces for either the upcoming Carbon Forestry 2022 or ForestTECH 2022 events, please make contact with

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CarbonCrop trying something new

A company trading carbon credits that “do not always” meet industry and government standards has resumed sales, after a brief pause following Stuff enquiries.

Customers purchasing carbon offsets issued by CarbonCrop – at $50 per tonne – might expect their cash was funding new activity to help the climate – such as fencing, pest control, or planting seedlings. But CarbonCrop does not require landowners with regenerating native bush to do anything extra in exchange for customers’ cash, which runs counter to government guidance and international standards.

After Stuff alerted CarbonCrop to these issues last month, the start-up temporarily stopped issuing carbon credits and the website Carbonz, which sold the credits, paused sales. Sales have now resumed, without substantive changes. Company founder Nick Butcher admitted there “is a non-zero per cent chance” that landowners could take all the money from carbon credits “and never make any effort to sequester new carbon”. But he believes many will use the money to achieve some extra carbon gains.

CarbonCrop executives told Stuff they’re “trying something new”, and hope the forest owners will use the money to help the environment. But there’s no obligation on forest owners to do anything. The system relies on goodwill to make the planet a better place. Since it paused issuing credits on June 29, the company has updated the information it provides on its website to explain its credit-issuing process.

For example, the company said its units “do not always meet” a key principle of the industry and government guidelines. When asked why it isn’t upfront in saying it requires no new action from landowners, Butcher said: “Presenting it in that form would be to suggest it is not a nuanced topic, and it is an extremely nuanced topic.” He added: “We’re having this conversation because we’re extremely transparent.”

CarbonCrop chief executive Jo Blundell said the company would “take a closer look” at the wording, adding that earlier marketing “under-communicated our position”. However, others in the industry said the company was breaching well-accepted international standards, and called for regulation of New Zealand’s offset market.

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Source: Stuff

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Launch of two firsts for the NZ transport sector

New Zealand’s Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods celebrated the launch of two firsts for energy decarbonisation in the transport sector in New Zealand; an electric milk tanker and a hydrogen truck, made possible with the help of Government funding.

New Zealand’s (and possibly the world’s) first electric milk tanker is entering Fonterra’s fleet and Hyundai and NZ Post are getting the country’s first hydrogen truck on the road. Megan Woods highlighted the importance of organisations that operate large fleets, leveraging new technology to reduce their emissions.

“These Government partnerships with industry are vital to achieving our climate goals, Megan Woods said. “It’s my hope these projects will deliver valuable lessons and financial insights that will be shared with others, and can be replicated across the national heavy fleet.

“Transport makes up more than 20% of the country’s emissions, and heavy vehicles, most of which are for freight, emit almost a quarter of our total transport emissions. Heavy transport is harder to decarbonise than light transport, and it’s likely a mix of hydrogen, electricity and other low-emission fuels will be needed to help meet the Emissions Reduction Plan’s target to cut emissions from freight transport by 35 percent by 2035.

“These truck projects have the potential to be transformational for heavy transport. According to Hyundai, the truck will save emissions the equivalent of taking 100 cars off the road.

“In the dairy sector, nationwide annual emissions from Fonterra’s milk collection are estimated to be around 126,000 tonnes of CO2e, so if this project proves replicable, it represents an excellent opportunity to make a huge cut to Fonterra’s heavy fleet emissions,” Megan Woods said.

Both projects received co-funding from the government’s Low Emissions Transport Fund, administered by EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority).

Fonterra received NZ$427,000 in co-funding, of an estimated total cost of $850,000 to purchase the electric truck cab/chassis and convert it into a tanker. The work was completed by a local engineer who specialises in mounting Fonterra’s tanker barrels and Fonterra’s in-house service technicians who specialise in building their tankers.

The E-tanker (named ‘Milk-E’) will operate on battery-swap technology, meaning just a few minutes’ downtime to swap batteries, which can be charged at off-peak times.

Hyundai NZ received NZ$500,000 in co-funding to purchase and deploy an initial fleet of five zero-emission Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric trucks into New Zealand and enter real-world daily logistics operation trials. NZ Post will operate the first of these, with plans to eventually deploy it on the Whangarei-Auckland-Hamilton route.

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Self-driving robotrucks rolling onto US freeways

After lumbering through a gravel parking lot like a big blue bull, one of Aurora Innovation Inc.'s self-driving truck prototypes took a wide right turn onto a frontage road near Dallas. The steering wheel spun through the half-clasped hands of its human operator, whose touch may not be needed much longer.

Fittingly for Texas, these Peterbilts are adorned with a sensor display above the windscreen that looks much like a set of longhorns. This was the beginning of a 45-kilometre jaunt up and down Interstate 45 towards Houston in a truck with a computer for a brain, and cameras, radar and lidar sensors for eyes, capturing objects more than 400 metres out in all directions.

The stakes for test drives like this one are incredibly high for the future of freight. If Aurora and other self-driving startups, including Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo, can convince customers and the public that large trucks can be automated safely, the potential efficiency gains are massive.

The technology would help ease an unprecedented driver shortage, especially for long hauls that keep truckers away from home for weeks. More importantly, the expensive big rigs that carry cargo will be able to roll around the clock, dramatically boosting utilisation.

Aurora has designed and configured the hardware and software it will use to launch a service towards the end of next year in which roughly 20 trucks will ply highways without a human on board. "We're now in the phase where we are doing the final refinements and the validation system-wide," Sterling Anderson, the company's co-founder and chief product officer, said in an interview just south of Dallas.

Aurora is starting in the Lone Star state for a few reasons. Texas is the U.S.'s largest truck freight market and has long, sometimes very boring, stretches of freeway. Its interstate highway network boasts almost a third more miles than second-ranked California.

Texas also has some quirks that are helping teach Aurora's system how to deal with unexpected scenarios. One is the incessant building and repairing of roads, resulting in 3100 construction sites statewide, including 40 or so on Aurora's route between Fort Worth and El Paso, Anderson said. There's also the Texas U-turn, the horseshoe-shaped turnabouts at underpasses below major highways in cities and rural areas alike.

"Any Texas U-turn is going be a slightly different situation on account of who's around you and what they're doing," said Anderson, the former head of Tesla Inc.'s Autopilot. "It's tricky for humans, too." It took about a month for Aurora's sensors and software to master the Texas U-turn, which allows vehicles to reverse course on a highway without hitting a stoplight. The manoeuvre requires the autonomous truck to yield to traffic coming at it from multiple sides and part of the methodical learning Aurora's computer does with each test run.

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Source: Stuff

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SnapSTAT - NZ major forest product export earners

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Bright future for Australia's young foresters

Forestry Australia is delighted to announce the appointment of two new co-chairs to lead its Future Foresters Initiative (FFI) Committee. Alannah Rowe and David Faluyi will head up the committee made up of young forestry professionals and forest science students which aims to support career growth and foster the next generation of forestry leaders.

Ms Rowe and Mr Faluyi replace outgoing co-chairs Pat McCarthy and Tegan Brown. Forestry Australia President Bob Gordon welcomed Ms Rowe and Mr Faluyi to their roles, saying they represented a bright future for young foresters in Australia.

“The Future Foresters Initiative aims to provide support to students and early career forestry professionals, as well as highlight the wide-ranging career pathways available within the forestry field,” Mr Gordon said. “Forestry is such a diverse sector, and the committee is made up of talented young foresters with wonderfully diverse skillsets and backgrounds to match the many opportunities ahead for the next generation.

“Both Alannah and David are highly skilled and extremely passionate young professionals and together with the committee, represent a bright future for the forestry profession in Australia. I’d also like to thank outgoing co-chairs Pat McCarthy and Tegan Brown for their commitment and leadership of the committee, particularly throughout the challenges presented by the pandemic.”

Alannah Rowe is currently working as an Environmental Consultant and conducts botanical surveys for mining clients throughout Western Australia. Ms Rowe said her desire to address the need for climate change adaptation through ecologically sustainable forest management practices led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in environmental management.

“I am honoured to represent the Future Foresters Initiative as co-chair,” she said. “Being a part of a wonderful and amazingly talented group of like-minded individuals and discussing forestry at a national level is pretty remarkable, and I’m delighted to continue to collaborate, share and explore my passion, which is more than just a job to me.”

Mr Faluyi is a GIS and Spatial Systems Officer at Sustainable Timber Tasmania and is passionate about improving environmental outcomes through sustainable Forestry, Agriculture and Energy production.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the community of students, young professionals, and other young people who are interested in our sector,” he said. “I’m looking forward to fostering collaborations and contributing to the resilient and thriving forestry sector that we all love, as well as growing our own induvial skillsets, together.”

Photo: FFI Committee members (L-R) Alannah Rowe, Zoe Lawrence, Oliver Andrews, Jack Davis, Jenna Hammond, David Faluyi, Tara Pederson, Maddie Shelton at a recent Leadership & Planning weekend

Source: Forestry Australia

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Bushfire review sparks call for adaptive forest management

Following the release, the Victorian Regional Forest Agreements (RFA) - Major Event Review of the 2019- 2020 bushfires, the national organisation representing over 1,000 forest scientists and professionals have called for active and adaptive forest management to be implemented as a matter of urgency.

President of Forestry Australia, Bob Gordon said the organisation has been calling on all governments to prioritise and invest in a year-round active and adaptive management approach to forest management, regardless of tenure.

“Given this, we are heartened to see the report recognises that there is a strong case to be made for further refinement and better integration of Victoria’s forest, national park and fire management planning strategies,” Mr Gordon said.

Under this approach, Mr Gordon said active and adaptive management of forests would address the decline in forest resilience, improve the protection of rural and regional communities and ensure that both Traditional Owner interests and environmental values are adequately managed and supported.

“It is clear to Forestry Australia that the 2019 -2020 bushfires have highlighted the need for greater adoption of active and adaptive forest management practices which requires developing new perspectives on the gathering of science and data as well as moving away from ‘issues-based’ and ‘reactive’ approach to a ‘landscape forest systems’ approach,” Mr Gordon said.

“This new approach and subsequent actions need to be evidence-based, with required actions to include researching, monitoring, promoting, and supporting forest health and biodiversity; more strategic fuel management interventions including the use of prescribed fire; intervention to manage pests and diseases as well as collaborating with Traditional Owners who care for their country, are all aspects that need attention.

Mr Gordon highlighted that as more country is set aside for passive conservation and consequently receives no active land management, more devastating fires are inevitable. “Our members work in forest, parks and water catchment management, so are pleased that the report noted that forest managers and timber industry employees were important players in fire response, protecting lives, housing and infrastructure and have used their experience to assist recovery operations after fires.

“It was heartening to see Traditional Owners expressed interest in being empowered to care for country but raised concerns that since colonisation, country has become broken and sick, for which Forestry Australia agrees. Also noted in the report, the increasing occurrence of bushfires is resulting in a reduction of timber plantations which reduces the local timber available and increases costs for the building industry. It is anticipated that the 2019/2020 bushfires will continue to impact wood supply and therefore broader society for the next 15 -20 years.

“However, we are concerned the review identified that the Victorian Forestry Plan contains no information or strategies as to how Victoria’s native forests will be managed over the next 30 years; does not address the full range of forest values covered under the modernised RFAs or provide clear direction on how Victoria intends to meet the RFA commitments to implement active management,” Mr Gordon said.

It is also concerning to note:

• In Victoria, approximately 1.5 million hectares was burnt, including around 1.3 million hectares, or 18% of Victoria’s total public native forest estate (national parks, state forests and all crown land).

• The fires acutely affected individuals, communities, businesses, infrastructure, plants, animals, and forest ecosystems.

• Bushfires are having a significant impact on old growth forests with approximately 60 per cent of Victoria's old growth forests have been lost, predominantly as a result of severe bushfires, since 2000, including another 60,000-ha lost over the 2019/2020 bushfires.

• There was concern that small ecological vegetation classes could have been severely impacted by intense fire, but there are inadequate resources to understand the impacts.

• The frequent exposure to intense bushfires is presenting a major and increasing threat to the effective operation of Victoria’s RFAs, to the stability of the forests and the achievement of ecologically sustainable forest management for our parks, forests, and reserves.

• Some of Victoria’s Traditional Owner cultural heritage sites have been impacted but lack of resourcing means that these impacts have not been quantified.

As a result of the fires, Victoria suffered its biggest loss of forest recreation assets (walking trails, cabin sites, bridges)

The Report can be found here.

Forestry Australia’s submission to the review can be found here

Source: Forestry Australia

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Forest Advisers & Log Traders Registration launch

As detailed earlier, log traders and forestry advisers operating in New Zealand can start to register under the new regulatory system which will be live on the Ministry for Primary Industries website from 6 August 2022. There is a 12-month transition period before it is mandatory to be registered in August 2023.

On 27 July, MPI will be publishing further guidance and information on its website to help you decide if you need to register as a forestry adviser or log trader, and we expect to publicly release the Code of Ethics during August. The guidance will help you decide if you need to register as a forestry adviser or log trader.

The regulations setting out the requirements for log traders and forest advisors are available on the Government’s legislation website.

For log traders, the regulations set out the fit and proper person requirements, information to be submitted with a new and renewed application, the registration period and the duty of applicants in regard to updating their information, keeping records and reporting to the Forestry Authority. The regulations also cover the complaints and disputes resolution processes. The regulations set out the same set of requirements for forestry advisers, along with the criteria for registration.

At the time you submit your registration application, a fee of NZ$444 (plus GST) will be payable via by credit or debit card. We are considering options for a cost neutral fee structure for those who register with both the Forestry Authority and New Zealand Institute of Forestry.

From 6 August 2022 you will be able to submit your application online. Further enhancements will be made available at the end of September with the launch of the customer portal which will allow you to view and manage your information. Through this customer portal, applicants can securely log-in and manage their own application, or the application of others if they are authorised to act on behalf of another person or business.

Source: MPI

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Heavy transport fleet de-carbonising with hydrogen

A new partnership is helping one of New Zealand’s largest heavy transport fleets decarbonise with hydrogen technology. New Zealand transport company H.W. Richardson (HWR) is partnering with Christchurch-based zero emissions technology firm Fabrum on the initiative.

Fabrum is developing and deploying an end-to-end scalable hydrogen refuelling solution for HWR to enable fleet-ready access to hydrogen. It will help HWR’s plans to have ten dual-fuel hydrogen diesel trucks on the road by the second quarter of 2023.

Fabrum is developing the first green hydrogen production system for HWR for its Southland site using a 1.1-megawatt membrane-free electrolyser combined with its cryogenic technologies in a containerised system for decentralised point-of-use refuelling. The system can produce 450kg of hydrogen per day from water.

The technology, which enables gas separation and liquefaction, combined with patented technology from UK company Clean Power Hydrogen (CPH2) – splits water into pure hydrogen and medical grade oxygen. Fabrum will also supply hydrogen storage technology that integrates with compression and dispensing technology to enable an end-to-end solution of production through to dispensing of hydrogen gas.

HWR has been trialling dual-fuel hydrogen technology for its truck fleets since late 2021, enabling a low-carbon transition. Dual-fuel technology diesel engines can replace up to 40% of the diesel with hydrogen – resulting in a 40% reduction in emissions without power loss.

HWR chief executive Anthony Jones says Fabrum is a key part of the project “as their world-leading solutions enable hydrogen production capability on-site and on-demand. As HWR rolls out dual-fuel technology and its hydrogen refuelling network across New Zealand, Fabrum’s ability to scale to grow with us means this alternative fuel source will be a solution for the entire heavy transport industry,” Jones says.

HWR, which owns the Allied Petroleum network of around 110 fuel stops across New Zealand from Stewart Island to Karikari Peninsula, has options to buy further electrolyser and hydrogen storage systems from Fabrum for new and existing refuelling sites.

“We can use our fuel network to distribute hydrogen as an alternative fuel not just for our fleet, but to help the heavy transport industry as a whole by removing barriers to accessing ready hydrogen fuel,” Jones adds.

Fabrum chief executive Ojas Mahapatra says the team is excited to be working with HWR on a zero-emission transport future with green hydrogen technologies. “As one of New Zealand’s largest companies, HWR can action big change that impacts its emissions and provides a sustainability and decarbonisation blueprint for heavy transport.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a surge in demand for our hydrogen solutions, driven by increasing decarbonisation and energy security challenges,” Mahapatra says.

Photo: HWR chief executive Anthony Jones

Source: transporttalk

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Sale of East Coast stations approved

Land Information New Zealand has confirmed that the Overseas Investment Office has approved applications for the sale of East Coast stations Huiarua and Matanui to be used for forestry.

The OIO applications for the sale of the farms inland from Tolaga Bay and Tokomaru Bay were lodged earlier this year and Toitū Te Whenua Land Information NZ has had the applications under “active consideration” for months. Federated Farmers set up a petition against the sales and it received nearly 9000 signatures.

“We can confirm that consent has been granted for the purchase of about 6000 hectares of farmland on the East Coast for conversion to forestry,” said Rebecca McAtamney, the head of regulatory practice for Toitū Te Whenua. “The farmland is split between two stations — Huiarua and Matanui — and the sale has been approved after meeting the requirements of the special forestry test consent pathway.

“A decision summary will be released publicly once it is appropriate to do so,” she said. “The planned release date is August 31 although this may be brought forward due to public interest if the minister approves it.” Ms McAtamney said because consent had been granted under the special forestry test, the land must be used for forestry activities.

Activities allowed are maintaining, harvesting and/or establishing a crop of trees for the purpose of plantation forestry. “The consent explicitly excludes permanent forestry. “This decision went nine days over the statutory timeframe for this application due to the complexity, including consideration of a total of 40 third party submissions and consultations with other government agencies,” Ms McAtamney said.

East Coast farmer Graeme Williams, a neighbour of Huiarua Station, said those concerned about the farms going to forestry were all aware the OIO, under the current special forestry test and law, had no choice other than to allow the sale. Our issue is that the law that has allowed this to happen is what needs changing,” Mr Williams said. Government ministers and the Prime Minister had publicly said land of this calibre should not go into trees, “yet they are hiding behind a law that they could change overnight”, he said.

Federated Farmers provincial president Toby Williams said the news was “devastating for the East Coast”.

“The decision is not unexpected. As soon as it was applied for under the special forestry test, we knew that there was next to no chance of the farms being saved. We ran a strong campaign and were overwhelmed with the response to our petition. “Our only hope rested with the ministers or to offer proof around our belief that this farmland was only being purchased for carbon. Clearly, we have been unable to achieve either”.

Source: Gisborne Herald

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Ultra-long range hydraulic drone lifts serious weight

A unique heavy-lift UAV out of Edinburgh promises to obliterate the power and range of electric drones using a Rotax engine and bent-axis hydraulic motors similar to those used on huge tree harvesters. It's now lifting 95 kg in testing.

Flowcopter promises an extraordinary 900 km of range and more than six hours of endurance, as well as a huge 150 kg max payload. It's built for an ultra-long range niche, particularly targeted at making deliveries to super-remote settlements and offshore oil rigs, as well as extended search and rescue missions and long-endurance agricultural use.

These use cases simply can't be filled with all-electric powertrains – the specific energy in lithium-ion batteries pales in comparison to what fossil fuels can deliver. But combustion engines aren't well suited to delivering the near-instant torque adjustments required to balance a multicopter in the air.

Flowcopter's solution is to run a Rotax aviation engine through a digital displacement pump that can quickly and precisely regulate pressure out to low-cost, high-torque hydraulic motors driving each propeller. Fossil fuel endurance meets very quick torque adjustments – and these bent-axis hydraulic systems are already well-established for use in some extremely tough environments, such as John Deere's mammoth tree harvesters and Holt's Eraser stump grinders.

How do they perform? Well, the power is certainly there. Flowcopter has released a bunch of test videos in recent months, all on ground tethers and catch ropes, showing this big ol' Bessie stacked up with an alleged 95 kg of weightlifting plates and holding a hover. Check it out:

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... the memory of an elephant

In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Mbembe approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Mbembe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.

Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day. Twenty years later, Mbembe was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man. Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant.

Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Mbembe's legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant...right?

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

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