Miscanthus for NZ energy production
Rotorua based sustainable energy company Miscanthus New Zealand Limited is pleased to announce that in its first full year of activity, it now has over 150,000 plants growing on land belonging to various customers at nine sites from Waikato to Otago. These include two areas that represent the two largest plantings of Miscanthus for energy production in New Zealand.Peter Brown, Managing Director of Miscanthus New Zealand Limited (MNZ) said “We are pleased with the positive results to date which we put down to hard work, thorough research and the continuing support of our key stakeholders.”
Miscanthus is a naturally occurring sterile perennial hybrid grass, related to sugar cane, which grows 3.5 - 4 metres tall each year, is harvested annually before regrowing in spring and is extremely versatile in use. Internationally it is used as a feedstock for co-firing with coal or for use in biomass power and heat generation but it also has a wide range of other uses including paper-making.
MNZ is already having commercial discussions with companies that are interested in establishing larger areas in spring of 2012, with interest coming from Maori Trusts, agricultural contractors, big energy users, pellet manufacturers, research institutions and a university.”If as seems likely, we can convert even a proportion of this interest into actual sales, we will have a busy year with the prospect of even greater activity in the future as the level of commercial awareness grows. We have not even started to talk with electricity generation companies yet, so the potential is quite enormous.” Brown said. “There is no other plant in New Zealand that can be used for energy production that comes close to competing with Miscanthus for the amount of useable energy able to be produced annually per hectare planted.” he added.
Interested companies will need to contact MNZ promptly in order to ensure that they can secure their plant supply for this year.