New Zealand power producer successfully trials torrefied biomass

By Erin Voegele | March 02, 2023

Genesis Energy, a New Zealand-based electricity and natural gas retailer, on Feb. 21 announced the successful completion of a biomass burn trial at its as part of its effort to find alternative options for the 953-megawatt (MW) coal-fired Huntly Power Station, New Zealand’s largest thermal power plant.

The week-long trial used black torrefied biomass sourced from Canada.  According to Genesis, the objective of the trial was to provide the technical viability of operating a Rankine unit solely on biomass. The trial was performed following significant research and work during the proceeding year to identify the most suitable type of biomass to use, securing a supply of it from offshore, and understanding the adjustments needed to operate the Rankine.

Earlier in the month, Genesis announced it has signed a biomass agreement with Fonterra, a global dairy cooperative, to work together on exploring the viability of biomass as a substitute for coal. Currently, Genesis burns coal at its Huntly Power Station and Fonterra uses coal to generate heat for dairy processing. The agreement is for an initial period of two years and is designed to allow the companies to collaborate, share knowledge and foster innovation.