Around 6,000 native trees are being planted at the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Trangie Agricultural Research Centre as part of a $4 million (€2.4 million) ‘Biomass for Bioenergy’ project.
NSW DPI senior research scientist, Dr Fabiano Ximenes, said the project will explore opportunities for increasing the amount of sustainable biomass use in NSW, with a focus on electricity generation.
“Approximately 6,000 drought-tolerant trees will be planted at the research centre, in an area of around three hectares,” said Dr Ximenes. “The project will identify available and potential feedstocks for bioenergy generation at varying scales, with an understanding of the economic viability and social constraints.”
According to Dr Ximenes, the planting of woody biomass crops can provide a “significant opportunity” for farmers to diversify their income by using marginal areas of their farm.
He added: “Dedicated biomass crops would benefit less productive areas, diversify the regional base and result in the creation of long-term job opportunities in regional NSW, across all parts of the supply chain, covering growing, harvesting, transporting and processing.”
NSW DPI Forest Science is partnering with the Australian Tree Seed Centre to investigate the productivity of prospective woody biomass crops grown under a variety of conditions. The species to be planted are suitable to the Trangie climate and include eucalyptus polybractea, eucalyptus infera, eucalyptus viridis, eucalyptus camaldulensis, eucalyptus castrensis, eucalyptus moluccana, acacia saligna, and casuarina glauca.