Pyrolysis Site – Bluegums Landfill

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Pyrolysis Site – Bluegums Landfill

This information is provided in response to the submission of a new resource consent application for the Pyrolysis of mixed timber excluding Copper Chromium Arsenic (CCA) treated timber.

The previous resource consent application has been withdrawn by the applicant.

What is pyrolysis?

  • Pyrolysis, simply put, is a thermo-chemical reaction in an oxygen-free vessel which breaks down molecules at elevated temperatures.
  • In the absence of oxygen combustion cannot take place so it is not a ‘burning’ process.

What is the current pyrolysis resource consent application status?

  • The previous resource consent application to process mixed timber included Copper Chromium Arsenic (CCA) treated has been withdrawn by the applicant – Waste Transformation Limited.
  • A new application for mixed timber excluding CCA treated has now been lodged.
  • Council will assess this application as part of its regulatory function in the normal manner.
  • Council will also assess the revised commercial proposal from the company separate from the consent process.

Why is a Pyrolysis plant being considered?

  • Pyrolysis is being considered as an alternative to landfill disposal.

Why can't we use the timber as firewood?

  • Even with the removal of CCA treated timber the remaining material may have been treated to prevent borer or water ingress. Burning this type of wood in a domestic setting is therefore not an option.

What is Council’s involvement in the development of a pyrolysis plant?

  • Council have two functions, firstly as the consenting authority we are responsible for the assessment of the resource consent application and, if granted, the subsequent consent conditions and compliance monitoring.
  • Secondly as the landowner of the proposed site we would have a contractual arrangement with the company that included any commercial arrangements between the parties.
  • The withdrawal of the CCA treated timber will result in further discussions between the company and council related to the commercial aspects of the proposal.

Why site a pyrolysis plant next to the Bluegums landfill?

  • Most of the material suitable for pyrolysis is already being delivered to the landfill for disposal.
  • The landfill site has the necessary existing infrastructure; weighbridges, tonnage reporting and invoicing system, and internal roading networks.
  • The landfill also has infrastructure associated with drainage (including the management of leachate) and landfill gas (pyrolysis can produce a gas with similar characteristics to landfill gas).
  • The landfill already has some of the plant and equipment needed to prepare timber for the pyrolysis process.
  • The landfill can deal with any timber loads containing non-conforming materials that are rejected for pyrolysis.

What impact will the pyrolysis plant have on traffic movements along the Taylor Pass Road/ through Blenheim?

  • The waste timber is already being delivered to the landfill so the pyrolysis plant will not add to the incoming load count.
  • The char product from the pyrolysis process would be exported from the site creating additional traffic movements.
  • These additional traffic movements will be dependent on the tonnage of mixed timber excluding CCA processed and the payload of each load leaving the site.
  • The traffic movements to and from the landfill for 2017/18 were 34,552.
  • The new resource consent application assumes up to 125 additional vehicle movements each year to export the char from the landfill site.

What environmental impact will the pyrolysis plant have?

  • The pyrolysis plant will be subject to resource consent. Go to the resource consent application here.
  • The resource consent process will require consideration of discharges to land, water and air.
  • The pyrolysis plant operator will have to demonstrate that it can operate within the current guidelines set down by the Ministry for the Environment and mitigate any environmental impacts.

What is the next step in this process?

The company has submitted their resource consent application to Council.

This application has been publicly notified. Go to the resource consent application here

Pyrolysis Unit

A picture of a pyrolysis unit similar to the type envisaged for Marlborough.


The following aerial view shows the location of the proposed pyrolysis plant.