Sustainable bioenergy and biofuels produced from forestry, other biomass and industrial side streams will increase New Zealand’s energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance the development of biorefining and industrial symbiosis.

Scion's bioenergy research programme focusses on:

  • Wood-based (lignocellulosic) replacements for transport biofuels and industrial energy, both of which currently use large amounts of non-renewable resources.
  • Identifying, adopting and adapting the best international technologies, ensuring they are cost-effective, risk is managed, a good "fit" to New Zealand, and building the capability for large scale uptake and deployment.

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Increasing the use of bioenergy and biofuels

Improved efficiency and material utilisation will increase the use of bioenergy in forest-based industries, as well as the transport sector, creating direct economic benefits for industry and the country.

Short Rotation Forestry

To ensure New Zealand will have enough clean, renewable sources of energy over the coming decade and meet future energy demand, short rotation forestry is proposed as a way to generate the required woody biomass.

Thermal processing

Fast pyrolysis and other thermal processing technologies are some of the techniques we are using to produce bioenergy and biofuels from biomass. We develop processes and products from laboratory to pilot plant to commercial scale.

Biochemical processing

Cellulose from woody biomass can be converted into simple sugars (saccharification) that can be fermented into ethanol and other liquid biofuels.

Towards biorefining and industrial symbiosis

The forestry, sawmilling and pulp and paper manufacture infrastructure in New Zealand is well positioned to support biorefineries that convert biomass into fuels, power, and value-added chemicals.

Industrial symbiosis is the association between two or more industrial facilities in which the wastes or byproducts of one company become the raw materials for another. Acting cooperatively, operating costs can be reduced and new business and job opportunities created.


Paul Bennett, Portfolio Leader, Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering