08 October 2010
An international speaker at the forefront of groundbreaking new research into converting forestry wastes into bio-fuels, food additives, plastics and other environmentally-friendly products is visiting New Zealand next week to speak at meetings in Wellington and Auckland.
The New Zealand Bioenergy Strategy developed by Crown Research Institute, Scion, has identified a wealth of bioenergy opportunities here, saying that New Zealand could be self-sustaining in transport fuels from bioenergy. The strategy compares well with similar strategies being developed in Canada.
Gilsenan, who is an economist, is involved with the Future Bio-Pathways Project, a study spearheaded by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) to explore options for transforming the Canadian forest products industry. Other project partners are the biotechnology and energy industries, along with research institutes, the financial sector and government.
The project has involved more than 65 top Canadian experts in such diverse areas as bio-technology, investment banking and carbon pricing.
The research has placed traditional wood products, such as lumber and pulp, at the heart of a new, green business model with the potential to make the forest products industry a pivotal force in Canada's effort to become a clean energy super-power.
The FPAC hopes this new model will enable Canada to produce power on the scale of nine nuclear reactors, enough to meet the energy needs of 2.5 million homes, or one out of every five homes across Canada.
Gilsenan is based in Ottawa and has been with the Canadian Forestry Service since 2003, working primarily on bioenergy and climate change issues. His current work includes the development of a government decision-making framework for commercialising bioenergy technologies.