Sources and technology

What and how much is being made in New Zealand?

New Zealand produces most biofuels from used cooking oil (biodiesel) and whey (bioethanol).  The attached summary sets out the various possible feedstocks and their application in New Zealand.

International markets

Liquid biofuels are made from quite different feedstocks in other countries because of subsidies, geographic location and thus choice of crops, and environmental policies. Information on the world biofuels markets is available from IEA Bioenergy Task Group 39

New Zealand future production

Future New Zealand production of liquid biofuels are unlikely to come from high sugar/starch sources because agricultural land is generally more economically used for food production. We don’t have the space for large algae ponds. Production is likely to be from wood - (lignocellulosics) or municipal solid waste both of which we have a lot.

Wood is not an attractive feedstock but research is focusing on this.

Conventional bioethanol and biodesel from used cooking oil, tallow, whey and canola will always be limited because of the limited amounts of feedstock that will ever be available and the high opportunity value for other uses.

Advanced biofuels will either be "drop in" from a range of possibles or be heavy oils from processes. The heavy oils can be used in marine and  rail engines and these markets will have less infrastructure requirements compared to the motor vehicle retail fuel and the aviation markets.