SCION green fuels report: Experts respond

Wednesday 21 Mar 2018

Green transport with biofuels - A new report recently released from Scion suggests that New Zealand could build a renewable low-carbon transport fuels industry, but only if there is the will to act.

In 2015, nearly a quarter of the country's greenhouse gas emissions were from combustible fuels, so the report suggested biofuels could have a major impact on overall reduction of New Zealand's carbon emissions.

University of Waikato senior research fellow Dr Martin Atkins welcomed the study, which he said "should reignite the conversation around the future of low-carbon transportation in New Zealand".

"While there is lots of interest in electric cars, this study clearly shows that liquid biofuels have an important role to play and simply cannot be ignored and put in the too-hard basket."

Massey University's Professor Ralph Sims, director of the Centre for Energy Research, said biofuels would play a role in moving toward net zero greenhouse gas emissions, but cautioned that there was a distinction between 'good' and 'bad' biofuels.

Good biofuels, as identified by Scion, included those produced from crop and forest residues and purpose-grown forests on marginal land, he said.

"Most biofuels cannot compete with an oil price below around US$100 per barrel ... although a high carbon price would help them become more viable. However, the current price of around NZ$ 21/t CO2 under the NZ emissions trading scheme adds only around 5 cents per litre to the retail price of petrol or diesel, so would need to rise significantly to have any major effect."

The SMC gathered expert reaction to the Scion report.

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