This project is examining the suitability of a range of native woody species for biomass production across NSW. The species chosen include mallees, other eucalypts and acacias which have been selected according to their likely suitability to the various climates in NSW, with ability to cope with harsh climatic conditions such as drought and frost. One of the main reasons for selecting mallee species is their proven ability to reshoot naturally from the stump (known as coppicing) after repeated harvest cycles.
The main purpose of the crop trials is to investigate biomass production for bioenergy under short rotation cycles (3-4 years) which would target marginal unproductive areas, for example on farming or mining land. This could be achieved using integrated land management techniques which would result in additional co-benefits associated with increased native vegetation cover. These may include carbon sequestration in the trees, improved biodiversity and soil improvement. On farms, woody crops could be integrated into the landscape through windbreak plantings, in recharge zones, in areas prone to soil erosion and salinity and for rehabilitating degraded soils. We believe there is potential for deriving additional income for landholders by the sale of the biomass and generation of carbon credits.
The bioenergy use options include electricity generation such as combustion using pelletised wood for local energy generation or to feed into the grid and heat generation such as in biomass boilers to heat hospitals, glasshouses and swimming pools. The electricity generation could involve use in dedicated furnaces, co-firing with other energy sources such as coal or used in hybrid biomass-solar systems.
The biomass crop trials map below shows the locations across NSW of the trial sites. There are currently 11 active sites. These are Cargo 1, Cargo 2, Glen Innes, Grafton, Muswellbrook, Orange 2, Scone, Tamworth, Trangie, Yanco 1 and Yanco 2. The site at Orange 1 was terminated in Autumn 2020 after the 6 month measurements due to high mortality, primarily due to the timing of planting and ongoing climatic challenges. Orange 2 has been planted with the most successful site species from the Orange 1 trial, with a variation on the planting design to test alternative planting layouts. Following the map is a table outlining the planting date and the species planted at each trial site.
|Other Eucalypts||Yanco1||Orange1*||Glen Innes||Scone||Tamworth||Trangie||Muswell-brook||Yanco2||Grafton||Cargo1||Cargo2||Orange2|
* Orange 1 was terminated in Autumn 2020 due to high mortality, primarily due to the timing of planting and ongoing climatic challenges. It has been replaced by Orange 2.
These factsheets outline specific details about the crop trial sites including the site layout, species planted, site photos and timeline of events.
This drone footage was captured by DPI staff during planting of the Orange 1 Biomass Crop Trial in October 2019. The imagery and video show the extent and layout of the Orange site. Approximately 6,000 trees were planted at this site.