A naturally occurring soil fungus is shaping as a new hero to improve nitrogen use on farm.
Locally supplied wood fuel will replace coal in the lime-drying process - an important part of preparing the naturally occurring soil conditioner for use by Southland farmers and growers.
The co-operative's commitment is being matched by funding through the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund. The funding agreement with EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) commits Ravensdown to savings of at least 1,107 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum, reducing Ravensdown's direct carbon footprint by almost 10%.
According to EECA, process heat accounts for over a quarter of New Zealand's energy-related emissions, presenting a huge opportunity for businesses to take a lead in climate change mitigation.
The GIDI Fund is part of the government's Covid Response and Recovery Fund, established to drive economic stimulus and job creation through decarbonisation projects.
The project contributes to Ravensdown's commitment to eliminate coal use by 2030 and is the outcome of comprehensive study to ensure that the most appropriate renewable fuel has been selected for this particular site and activity.
Ravensdown chief executive Garry Diack thanked the Government for its support.
"The intense interest in GIDI from all parts of the manufacturing economy shows how important the fund has been in driving the climate change response. Ravensdown is thrilled to receive this support in order to greatly advance progress on our plan to phase out coal across the business."
National quarries manager Richard Millar explained that the conversion will have secondary benefits for the local area.
"Heat from burning coal is currently used to dry lime on site before it is distributed to customers' farms. We're particularly excited to have Niagara Wood Fuels on board as a local supplier for the biomass. By sourcing the fuel from the surrounding area, the idea is to contribute to the local economy and reinvest in community development.
"The heat source is an essential part of our production, and it has to work reliably in all conditions. Knowing that we can continue to meet farmers needs while removing our biggest source of emissions at the quarry is a major step forward."
Ravensdown lime is used on farm to improve fertility by reducing acidity. Along with reducing transport emissions, drying the lime helps it to be spread more evenly as a powder over grazing areas.