Position: Senior Scientist and Project Leader, Scion.
Field: Renewable Energy.
Peter now specialises in resource assessment and the use of forest residues for energy production. In recent years, he has demonstrated the significant potential of forestry as a source of renewable energy for New Zealand.
Peter Hall developed his interest in science while working within the New Zealand forestry industry. While he was working with the Logging Industry Research Organisation, he became interested in residues – the off-cuts and leftovers from felled trees that were of no use to the timber industry and would usually be piled up and left in the forests to rot. He was interested to find out whether there was a way to make use of this potential resource.
Peter started measuring the residue to determine the size of the resource and its composition. He received a grant to study forestry-based bioenergy systems in other countries and discovered that the use of forest residues is widespread, particularly in the Scandinavian countries in the north of Europe, and that each country had different systems in place that catered to the type of terrain, whether they were using plantation forests or natural forests, the size of the trees, the climate and each country’s policies around bioenergy.
In his work at Scion, Peter is continuing to examine how biomass products such as woody biomass, agricultural plants, household wastes and even algae can be converted into energy products (such as heat, electricity and liquid fuel). He also looks at the nature and issues associated with different conversion technologies in order to identify and address barriers and issues around the implementation of bioenergy in New Zealand.
More information about Scion’s research on their website.
This article is based on information current in 2008 and in 2018.