Wood for Canterbury heat applauded

Wednesday 13 Mar 2019

Wood biomass for renewable energy for Christchurch hospital - Health Minister Dr David Clark says two new woody biomass boilers for Christchurch Hospital will improve the Canterbury DHB’s resilience and environmental sustainability.

Polytechnik Biomass Energy, based in Austria, has been awarded the contract to design, manufacture and install replacements for the current coal-fired boilers. The total budget for the project is approximately $45 million.

“The existing boiler house at Canterbury DHB’s main hospital campus was damaged in the 2011 earthquake and is at increased risk of failure in the event of another significant earthquake.

“This investment will tackle that vulnerability and ensure the critical energy supply for the hospital is modern and reliable.

“The new boilers will use sustainably produced wood biomass, which is a renewable resource and affordable. The boilers are a great way to dispose of waste wood, and will emit far less carbon dioxide than conventional fossil fuels.

“The design and construction of the two 7.5Mw capacity biomass boilers is a key next step towards building the new Energy Centre, which is needed to service the new Christchurch Hospital, Hagley (formerly known as the Acute Services Building) and all of Canterbury DHB’s main hospital campus.

“Once the design of the boilers has been completed, then the design and procurement of the Energy Centre building can take place.

“This is a key piece of the hospital’s infrastructure. Staff and patients need to know the energy supply can be relied on. This investment will give them that confidence,” David Clark said.

“It is great to see Government ‘putting its money where its mouth is’ with regard to reducing emissions. Such investment leadership will encourage business to also move to use biomass energy.” Said Brian Cox, Executive Officer of the Bioenergy Association.

Mr Cox added that “The decision by the Canterbury District Health Board and the Government to install two biomass fuelled boilers at Christchurch hospital to replace the existing coal fuelled boilers demonstrates the increasing growth in the use of biomass to replace coal and natural gas for heating. The decision provides a show of confidence in the availability of biomass fuel into the future, and the capability of the biomass fuel suppliers to reliably deliver specification fuel to meet demand.”

It is expected that construction of the new Energy Centre will get underway in late 2019, and that the project will be completed by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

NOTE: Funding for the project is drawn from the Earthquake Repairs Programme of Works, which was established with insurance settlement funds.

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