This article originally appeared on Stockhead
Sweetman Renewables is expanding its sawmilling operations to take advantage of the flurry of construction underway around Australia as well as provide a plentiful supply of biomass for hydrogen producers.
Sweetman Renewables is in prime position to help fill the supply gap set to be left behind by the Hunter Valley’s only other sawmill, which will soon close its doors.
At the same time, there is a building and construction boom across the country resulting in shortages of both labour and products, especially timber products, thanks to initiatives to move the economy beyond the COVID pandemic.
Sweetman plans to expand its sawmilling operations, which have been around since 1921, to meet this growing demand.
“With the imminent closure of the other hardwood sawmill in the region, because of urban ‘creep’ and related development pressures, the Sweetman Renewables sawmill will soon be the only hardwood sawmill between Sydney and Newcastle,” chairman John Halkett said.
“With frantic building and construction activity in Australia, and with building products in short supply, the Sweetman Renewables Hunter Valley sawmill is well-placed to expand production to supply some of the increasing demand for hardwood timber products across New South Wales and in other states.
“This will afford Sweetman Renewables valuable commercial appeal.”
All logs processed by the Sweetman sawmill will come from third-party certified forest operations or from areas with approved harvesting authorities issued by New South Wales Local Land Services.
“We are confident about acquiring additional log supplies from sustainable forest management operations in the region,” Halkett said.
Sweetman’s sawmilling operations will also provide valuable biomass to fuel hydrogen production.
While it’s only in the very embryonic stages right now in Australia, the use of biomass to create renewable energy is actually mainstream in other countries – like Scandinavia, China and Japan.
The sawmilling operations will support the acquisition, processing, logistics and transport of biomass for export to bioenergy plants in Japan, local renewable energy consumption and for the production of syngas, green hydrogen and biochar.
Halkett said testing was already underway to verify the technical credentials of Sweetman Renewables’ ‘green’ biomass sourced from industrial and residential waste streams.