Revolutionising Energy: How Foresta Is Turning Pine Trees Into Sustainable Fuel

Revolutionising Energy: How Foresta Is Turning Pine Trees Into Sustainable Fuel

Foresta, an Australian company with substantial New Zealand shareholding, has developed a method to extract valuable resins and terpenes from pine trees before converting the wood into torrefied wood pellets, a potential coal substitute. 

Ray Mountfort, Managing Director of Foresta, discusses the company's innovative approach to creating a sustainable fuel alternative from pine trees. 

"When we torrify, we basically cook that out, we sweat those volatile gases out, and we actually burn those in the process to provide the energy for that torrefaction." 

The result is a hydrophobic, carbon-rich product that resembles coal but is part of a closed carbon cycle, offering a greener solution for energy consumption. A major talking point in the conversation is the significant demand for renewable energy products, spurred by global decarbonization efforts. Foresta has secured a 65,000-tonne annual contract with Taylid for bioenergy products, showcasing the viability of their fuel alternative in the marketplace. 

Mountfort emphasises the convenience of Foresta's product as a "drop-in replacement" for coal, which does not necessitate major alterations to existing energy systems.

"By being able to just replace that with a drop-in replacement is the key word, meaning that they don't have to change their burners, they don't have to change their delivery system." 

The conversation also touches on the by-products of pine extract and their wide range of applications. Mountfort highlights the versatility of pine resin, which is used in products ranging from chewing gum to tyre compounds. 

"So when you think about resin... it's reactive, so you can react it with other things... You can turn it into just about anything." 

This multifaceted use of pine by-products underscores Foresta's commitment to maximizing the value of pine trees and contributing to a circular economy. Mountfort invites listeners to engage with Foresta at the National Field Days in Hamilton and other significant field days to learn more about their work. 

The conversation provides a detailed insight into Foresta's pioneering work in the bioenergy sector, which is set to make a substantial impact on the future of sustainable fuel.

Listen to the full chat between Ray Mountfort and Dominic George above.

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