The market in New Zealand for the Miscanthus product is developing at the moment. The bulk market internationally – as feedstock for boilers for producing energy in place of burning coal – is in its infancy in New Zealand and there is only one site that has used Miscanthus for this purpose so far. Their reaction was extremely positive and the fact that it is so dry when it is harvested allows them to mix it with wetter feedstock to get a burning characteristics that is representative of what they would like.
This market will expand as quantities become sufficient to make it worthwhile.
MNZ has carried out some very useful trials in conjunction with a local machinery developer whereby Miscanthus has been pressed into 40 x 40 mm cubes so that it is densified for transport. This also allows the Miscanthus to be handled by feedstock handling systems that were designed for lumpy coal. So far there is only been a relatively small quantity of this material produced but the machinery required is becoming available to allow production on a bigger scale. It is anticipated that this will open up more markets very rapidly.