The business of biomass

Demand, location and access to product and raw materials has seen a South Island company move into the North Island and build a new mill in Rotorua.

Natures Flame is an innovative biomass business that produces pellets from waste pinewood for burning in virtually smokeless pellet fires.

The pellets, predominately bound for domestic fires, comply with the most stringent clean air standards and are aimed at cleaning up the air around many of the countrys cities and towns.

Steve Cunningham, Natures Flame general manager, says Rotorua was the ultimate destination for their fast growing business.

Its all about forestry here and the local industry reflects this and was also eager to be involved in supporting a new business of this nature.

Cunningham says the forestry and ultimately the sawmills and other timber-related businesses provide Natures Flame with the raw product needed to make their pellets.

The advantage of our pellets is that they are produced from waste wood and are burnt in smokeless pellet fires. They are also cost effective and the heat output is very controllable  with no ongoing fixed charges to worry about, he says.

The pellet fire industry began in Canada in the early 1980s. It is has experienced extensive growth in European countries such as Sweden, Austria and Finland and increasingly in New Zealand.

Natures Flame wood pellets are made from sawdust, shavings and wood fibre such as off-cuts. All material used is 100 per cent natural, with no additives used to form the pellets.

They are sold in 20 kilogram bags that are fed into a specifically built fireplace.

While Natures Flame has been available in the South Island since 1997, it was only 18 months ago the company decided to move into the North Island.

There is currently one established Natures Flame pellet mill in Christchurch but demand for the product has necessitated the move north. 

Much of the South Island, as well as many North Island towns and cities, is affected by smog and pollution created from burning wood and coal in domestic fire places.

Our business has found a way to make use of a natural product without it having a negative impact on the environment, says Cunningham.    NZB

Publishing Information
Magazine Issue 
NZBusiness April 2006