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Kiwi companies collaborate to develop biofuel as coal substitute

Genesis Energy's Huntly Power Station.

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Genesis’ Huntly Power Station.
Photo: Genesis Energy

Genesis Energy and Fonterra are working together to develop locally sourced biofuel as a substitute for coal.

Their two-year Biomass Collaboration Agreement was aimed at reducing the amount of coal used to generate electricity at Genesis’ Huntly Power Station, and to generate the heat necessary for Fonterra’s dairy processing.

The companies had been working separately on the development of biomass and expected the partnership to build on that work.

“Each of us is committed to helping achieve a sustainable future for New Zealand,” interim chief executive Tracey Hickman said.

“Huntly will continue to provide critical back-up to the electricity system as we transition to a higher level of renewable generation, and we’re exploring whether it can do so using renewable fuel.”

Fonterra chief operating officer Fraser Whineray said it was important for industries to work together to help meet New Zealand’s climate commitments.

Fraser Whineray

Fonterra chief operating officer Fraser Whineray.
Photo: Fonterra

“Decarbonisation is a vital part of the co-op’s sustainability strategy as we work to meet the evolving expectations of New Zealanders, customers and consumers to produce some of the most emissions efficient dairy in the world.”

Genesis had committed to science-based targets to remove 1.2 million tonnes of annual carbon emissions by 2025 from a 2020 base year, which included reducing generation emissions by 36 percent.

Fonterra was aspiring net zero by 2050 with an interim target of a 30 percent reduction of manufacturing emissions by 2030 from a 2018 baseline.

The co-op had also committed to getting out of coal by 2037, with most of the work to be completed by 2030.

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