Pure Power offers willow cuttings, publication

By Susanne Retka Schill
Web exclusive posted July 10, 2008 at 4:24 p.m. CST

Pure Power Global's New Zealand technology center rolled out its commercial offering of a new biomass crop-cuttings of Salix, a variety of willow, for foresters and farmers. The announcement followed the launch of its new publication, "Energy Farming with Willow," which covers a range of topics from breeding and propagation to establishment, management, harvesting and pest control. Singapore-based Pure Power Global developed the publication in association with its joint venture partner, the Lake Taupo Development Co., along with the New Zealand government's Sustainable Farming Fund and Crown Research Institutes, HortResearch and Scion.

Pure Power has 37 hectares (91 acres) of willow in nursery plantations at various stages of development, said Pure Power's Chairman and Chief Executive David Milroy. Enough cuttings will be available for 500 hectares (1,200 acres) to be planted in 2009, 1,000 (2,500 acres) in 2010 and doubling each year thereafter. "This represents a significant step towards yielding a reliable and secure supply of woody biomass for use as a lignocellulosic feedstock from which we can produce a portfolio of biofuels and a range of bioproducts all based on sustainably produced renewable feedstocks," Milroy said.

Pure Power has evaluated different hybrids, selecting seedlings for vigor and fast growth characteristics doubling plant growth rate and biomass yield. It has also selected hybrids which are resistance to pests and tolerant to damage from drought or out-of-season frosts. The company also intends to cross diploid and tetraploid hybrids to products mostly sterile triploid plants, mitigating the potential invasive problem. Pure Power will process the woody biomass to produce ethanol for fuel, xylitol for food sweetening and lignin for the production of biopolymers.

Pure Power Global gained its lignocellulosic capability when it acquired New Zealand based BioJoule in December 2007. It has also acquired shares in algae developer Aquaflow Bionomic Corp. and acquired greenfield biodiesel developer International Biofuel Partners. Pure Power also includes wind energy in its portfolio development of biofuels, bioproducts and renewable energy.