Biomass Gasification Crops for the Climatic Range of New Zealand

  • Richard RenquistEmail author
  • Huub Kerckhoffs
Part of the Sustainable Agriculture Reviews book series (SARV, volume 11)


Plant biomass can be used for multiple forms of bioenergy and there is a very large potential supply, depending on which global assessment is most accurate with regard to land area that could be available for biomass production. The most suitable plant species must be identified before the potential biomass production in a particular region can be quantified. This in turn depends on the degree of climatic adaptation by those plant species. In the range of climates present in New Zealand biomass crop growth has less restriction due to water deficit or low winter temperature than in most world regions. Biomass production for energy use in New Zealand would be best utilised as transport fuel since 70% of the country’s electricity generation is already renewable, but nearly all of its transport fossil fuel is imported. There is a good economic development case for transport biofuel production using waste streams and biomass crops. One promising conversion technology is thermochemical gasification.

This review identified the most suitable crop species and assessed their production potential for use as the feedstock to supply a gasification plant making biofuel, within the climatic range present in New Zealand. Information from published work was used as a basis for selecting appropriate crops in a 2-year selection and evaluation process. Where there were knowledge gaps, the location-specific selections were further evaluated by field measurements, by distinguishing three categories of growth habit (perennials, summer and winter annuals), by identifying a high-yielding benchmark species for each category and by the use of crop models to simulate yields in ‘marginal’ site conditions. This review demonstrates how these elements constitute a methodological tool to quantify the rapid screening and ranking of species. The data presented have superseded much of the speculative information on suitability of species for the potential development of a biofuel industry.


Biomass crops Energy crops High dry mass yield Biofuels Bioenergy potential Perennials LCA Greenhouse gases Land-use change Gasification Pyrolysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research LtdPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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