Trangie hosts biomass crops for bioenergy

27 Aug 2020

Around six thousand native trees are being planted at the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Trangie Agricultural Research Centre as part of the $4 million Biomass for Bioenergy project, under the NSW Primary Industries Climate Change Research Strategy.

NSW DPI Senior Research Scientist, Dr Fabiano Ximenes said the project will investigate 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 3 hectares,” Dr Ximenes said.

“The project will identify available and potential feedstocks for bioenergy generation at varying scales, with an understanding of the economic viability and social constraints.”

Dr Ximenes said planting of woody biomass crops can provide a significant opportunity for farmers to diversify their income by using marginal areas of their farm.

“Dedicated biomass crops would benefit less productive areas, diversifies the regional base and results in the creation of long-term job opportunities in regional NSW, across all parts of the supply chain, covering growing, harvesting, transporting and processing,” Dr Ximenes said.

NSW DPI Forest Science is partnering with CSIRO (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 (blue mallee); Eucalyptus infera (durikai mallee); Eucalyptus viridis  (green mallee); Eucalyptus camaldulensis (river red gum); Eucalyptus castrensis (Singleton mallee); Eucalyptus moluccana (grey box); Acacia saligna (golden wreath mallee) and Casuarina glauca (swamp she-oak).

Some of the desirable features of selected species include fast growth, hardiness, resistance to drought and frost conditions, and potential for coppicing.

Trial sites have been established at Yanco, Orange, Glen Innes, Tamworth and Scone, and in the coming months additional sites to be planted include Muswellbrook and Grafton.

Media contact: (02) 6391 3686