A New Phytosanotary Treatment – FEL Pt.1

Organisation: Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction Inc. STIMBR – Joule Heating
Grant Number: A17021
Grant Amount: $66,000

Methyl bromide, an ozone depleting gas, is used as a phytosanitary treatment for approximately 20 percent of the logs exported from New Zealand. Phytosanitary treatments are set by importing countries. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has determined that following fumigation, methyl bromide will not be allowed to be released to the atmosphere from 2020 onward. Consequently, the users of methyl bromide are seeking suitable alternative treatments. 

The University of Canterbury’s (UC’s) Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre), with support from the Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction (STIMBR), government and Scion, has developed an exciting alternative for methyl bromide phytosanitary treatment that has the potential to be used on exported pine logs. The concept of using electric heating technology (Electric Joule Heating) has been proven in the laboratory.

AGMARDT and STIMBR co-funded a feasibility study to determine the costs of building and operating a commercial plant, based on installation at the Port of Tauranga. The plant would be capable of treating 2.1 million cubic metres of logs a year. 

The technology also has potential for use as an alternative heating technology to steam heating used to prepare logs for peeling and slicing to produce veneers.