Biomass fueled heating applications


See the bioenergy facilities directory for the location of all biomass fuelled heating applications in New Zealand and Australia. Case studies of many demonstration sites are available here 

Wood processing

The majority of wood processing operations in New Zealand and Australia use residual biomass from processing operations as fuel for on-site heat.

New Zealand

Large scale users in New Zealand include the following:

  • Oji Fibre Solutions Kinleith – 160MWth
  • Pan Pac Forest Products Napier - 42MWth
  • Nelson Pine Industries – 35MWth
  • Dongwha Patinna NZ  – 34MWth
  • Juken Nissho – 32MWth

Heat plants over 1 MWth in size can be found in the Heat Plant Database. The database records all heat plant users in New Zealand with plant greater than 1MWth regardless of fuel type. Access the heat plant database.  Large scale users will be benefiting from significantly reduced emissions relative to coal, improved fuel handling and new plant efficiencies.  

Residential heating

Interest in wood fuel in the residential heating has always been significant in New Zealand. Traditionally this would have been for logs for open fires and wood burners. As territorial councils impose ever stricter emission limits in areas where poor air quality is a recognised hazard there is a move to more modern low emission solid wood and wood pellet burners, and the removal of open fires. These advances improve air quality and ensure home owners are benefiting from more efficient technologies.

Biomass fuelled boilers in homes can provide underfloor as well as space heating.

Standard specifications for wood fuel (including firewood) are set out in the Solid biofuels classification guidelines . Territorial councils are also playing an important role in educating wood fuel users about wood fuel quality, using dry wood etc. – for example – The good wood supplier scheme.  

Wood fuel appliances - New Zealand is well served for modern low emission wood burner appliances and an approved list of burners is available on the Ministry for the Environment website. Search for a supplier on the Contact an expert pages.


Wood fuel is showing itself to be a perfect solution to the heating and hot water needs of accommodation providers across New Zealand. With the ability to control the heat output and meet the need for heat or hot water as numbers of guests increase or decrease. In addition to the reliability and clean handling, users have seen costs and emissions decrease.  See accommodation case studies using wood fuel.


Dairy plants with spray driers have an almost constant load (they operate between 85 and 100% load) hence they are ideal consumers for wood energy plants.

Institutions and Schools converting to biomass fuel

Perhaps one of the biggest growth areas in recent years for the biomass fuel sector has been the steady stream of schools and institutions converting to wood fuel.  This is in part thanks to government incentive scheme but also simply the case that for many the economic and environmental advantages of wood (not forgetting the convenience) simply stack up.  Schools and institutions with heat plants over 1 MWth in size can be found in the Heat Plant Database. Several schools now have plant of this size. Access the heat plant database.  There are a number of valuable lessons that can be learned from schools that have installed new wood fuel plant or have had an existing plant converted from coal to now run on wood fuel. Note the following:

Municipal facilities (including swimming pools)

Several Regional and Central government asset owners are now looking to wood fuel to supply efficient clean heating solutions. The increasing availability of all types of wood fuel means that when plant needs to be replaced or upgraded, wood fuel heat plant is an option worth considering. With high quality wood fuel and experienced technology suppliers, the wood is becoming the fuel of choice for many.

Rest homes

The number of rest homes or care homes converting to biomass fuel has shown quite a significant jump in recent years. For many it’s the change from electricity to wood fuel for heating which has seen significant financial savings. For many the ability to automate their heating needs has been a bonus and one less thing to manage.

Other applications

Biomass fuel is now in use across a range of businesses providing efficient, clean and cost competitive means of heating space and water. Businesses using wood fuel range from those in the food sector to manufacturing to a flower business.