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Sanford Seafoods Ltd

Research & Analysis | Energy Services - WoodChip conversion
Completed 2016

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0212 022 172

Through research and analysis we have become a leader in converting coal boilers to woodchip

In 2016, Sanford Seafoods Ltd in Timaru engaged Ahika to assist with their goal of reducing the carbon footprint of their thermal coal boiler. Sandford had unsuccessfully tried to engage with other consultants who all said that it was not possible to convert their 4.7MW chain grate steam boiler to woodchip.

Ahika has been working in the wood energy sector since 2009 and has developed expertise for assessing conversion projects. To get a better understanding of the system Ahika undertook a detailed analysis of coal properties and consumption and compared this against suitable wood fuels. Due to the high ash content of the industrial coal, converting to woodchip was found to have lower operating costs due to the costs associated with ash removal. The boiler was also expected to operate more efficiently due to less short cycling (boiler turning on and off).

A high quality fuel is paramount for a successful project and Ahika assessed fuel options and suitability, onsite storage requirements and emissions. Ahika also engaged with several potential fuel suppliers and made recommendation on the most suitable fuel.

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Converting a coal boiler to operate on woodchip usually requires physical changes to the fuel delivery, safety systems, grate speed and depth and automation of air settings. Ahika utilised its partner network and engaged an engineer with first-hand experience with these types of boilers. This process identified a number of changes that needed to happen to ensure continuous and successful operation of the boiler operating on woodchip.

Sanford had tried burning woodchip prior to Ahika’s involvement but the boiler was unable to get to the necessary pressure and temperature for their processing requirements. After recommended changes were implemented, two additional trials followed. The final trial resulted in the boiler operating all day on woodchip and providing the necessary steam requirements for their processes.

The final step is the conversion and full ongoing operation of the plant to woodchip. This is currently underway with modifications to the fuel bunker and fuel delivery system and automation of boiler controls and installation of variable drives for grate and air settings planned. This project is projected to reduce carbon emissions by 1,200 tCO2 eq per annum.

Ahika has specialist skills in the wood energy sector relating to detailed wood feasibility assessments, wood fuel supply studies, developing and negotiating wood fuel supply contracts, coal boiler conversions to wood fuels and district heating.

Mondelez NZ

Energy Services | Planning & Strategy
2015 - Current
0212 022 172
03 742 1093


At Ahika we put a lot of our energy into providing energy services as well as creating implementable energy management strategies and plans.

Mondelez NZ, commonly known as Cadbury, was looking to develop a long term relationship with an energy consultant that would assist with delivering energy management services and advice.  In 2015, Ahika was selected as the successful supplier of these services over a short list of other companies.  Our main point of difference from these other companies was our proven track record with other local companies, our willingness to work with a multitude of other specialists and our practical hands on approach to projects.


Energy management started with a review of their existing audits and reports, meeting staff and getting an understanding of the process.  This led to the development of a plan for meeting their current energy reduction targets of 5% per annum.  This included several detailed audits of air and steam systems which identified more than 1,000 MWh in energy savings.  As part of this process, Ahika leverage the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) for support of energy efficiency projects and several have already been completed in a short time frame.  

Our energy management services are tailored to the client and can include specialty advice for energy services such as steam, compressed air and pumps, development of framework for regular meetings and feedback for opportunities with staff, tariff and line charge assessment, developing long term plans, verification of energy savings, project management and monthly reporting to Management.

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Oceana Gold

Energy Services | Planning & Strategy
2011 - Current

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0212 022 172


We thrive on providing long term energy services as well as creating large scale energy plans.

Ahika has been providing energy services to Oceana Gold since 2011.  Approaching a large industrial site like their Macraes processing plant requires a structured approach and plan.  Ahika’s approach started with several onsite meetings with senior management,  providing an understanding of their current position, goals and aspirations.  Coupling Ahika’s energy experience with staff knowledge and an initial energy plan was developed.  This plan set the direction for the site for the next five years and we are currently in the process of implementing (2015-16) the main task from that plan developed in 2011.

There have been some major highlights over that time including a $1M reduction in pump operating costs, $500,000 reduction in electricity line charges, implementation of a site wide energy monitoring system and numerous energy efficiency projects.

Our excellent working relationship with the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority helped to foster a similar relationship on behalf of Oceana Gold. This has resulted in an excellent working relationship with all parties and numerous funding opportunities.   

Ahika’s approach with all our clients is to establish a professional relationship that adds long term value to the client. We work on the premise that it can take years to fully understand your business and for a site like Macraes we are still fine tuning our understanding of their process.


Cosy Homes

Planning & Strategy
Completed 2015
0212 548 928


Working with our local community to plan and develop a long-term strategic and operational plan for warming up residents' homes is vital to having healthier and more energy efficient houses.

Dunedin City Council (DCC), in collaboration with Southern District Health Board (SDHB), Otago Regional Council (ORC) as well as Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO), Anglican Family Care and a vast array of community groups all interested in energy, forms the Cosy Homes Steering Group who appointed a Cosy Homes Trust. 

The Cosy Homes’ mission is “making every home in Dunedin warm and cosy by 2025”.  This project included consultation with key stakeholders to form a Strategic and Operational Plan.  Ahika won the tender to complete the Strategic & Operational Plan in 2014 using the vast amount of data collected at the Cosy Homes Symposium. During this one full day, the basis of a draft strategy was extrapolated from 76 stakeholders who all held vastly different opinions about how to warm up the cold, old and draughty homes in Dunedin). 

The plan incorporates ways to network and collaborate with other organisations and businesses who are currently retrofitting insulation, draught proofing and providing curtains, setting up a one-stop-shop for all things to do with household warmth and energy use, alongside an educational programme that can be run out to access as many of the residents of the 18,000 old, cold and costly Dunedin homes.  The work completed for Cosy Homes Trust included marketing and financial plans and a job description for a project manager, all of which assist the Trust in getting the “cosy homes” message out to Dunedin households and to guarantee funding support is achieved.


Forsyth Barr Stadium

Research & Analysis
Completed 2015
0212 022 172
03 742 1093


We strive to help our clients save money as well as energy, tariff analysis is an easy money saving task.

Electricity lines charges continue to increase annually and for some clients, the proportion of line charges to energy use can be as high as 30-40%.

Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) was continually frustrated at the line charges component of their electricity bill and engaged Ahika to investigate the issue further.  A detailed analysis of load data for the site found over-specified supply capacity in comparison to their energy demand.  This meant the Stadium was paying in excess of $15,000 in line charges as a result.  

Ahika also investigated demand management options for the Stadium that included utilising their onsite 165kVA generator and shedding loads during peak winter demand periods.  As a result of a feedback from staff and Management and our own experience, a list of demand management loads was developed.  Demand management was expected to contribute on average an additional $10,000 per annum in line charges savings.


Otago Polytechnic

Research & Analysis
Completed 2013
0212 022 172


We are keen to help our clients identify ways to become more sustainable, often this includes completing a feasibility study first.

Otago Polytechnic was setting a new organisational strategic direction that was focused on sustainability and sought advice from Ahika about sustainable heating options.  The conversion of Otago Polytechnic’s boilers from coal to woodchip in 2013 started many years earlier when Ahika completed a number of detailed studies including a detailed wood boiler feasibility study, successful trials to operate their existing boilers on woodchip and emissions and efficiency options for their existing boilers.

New advanced woodchip boilers have had a big impact for the polytechnic by reducing the carbon footprint of the boiler by more than 1,450t CO2-e per annum, improved the combustion efficiency by 25% as a result of new technology and improved emissions to meet tight local air discharge consent requirements.

Ahika has extensive experience in the wood energy sector on the demand and supply side.  A recent trip to Europe included site visits to eleven industrial sites and it confirmed that our early decision to take a lead in the local wood energy sector was the right one.  Wood energy is the future for all large industrial users and Ahika can provide assistance with ensuring all aspects of the project are considered.

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DCC Community Pools

Research & Analysis | Energy Services
Completed 2012
0212 022 172


Saving energy is core to what we do, here at Ahika we put a lot of our own energy into helping others become more efficient.

In 2012, the Dunedin City Council was looking to reduce energy use at its community pools in Mosgiel, St Clair and Port Chalmers.  Ahika completed detailed energy audits of these sites and identified and quantified opportunities which met Council’s aspirations.  The detailed audit covered all aspects of the pools operation including tariff and line charge, staff behaviours, pool heat loss improvements, hot water usage from showers and heat recovery opportunities.

Heating the St Clair pool was a particular challenge because of the high heat load due to higher levels of evaporation being outside and for these three summer-only pools, there is a significant energy load in November when the pools initially get filled and heated.

Ahika is an EECA programme partner and was able to access funding for the upgrade of the pools heating system to heat pumps and the savings were evident immediately after their installation.  The following graph illustrates the energy difference between consecutive years for one of their pools. This verification equated to energy savings of more than 100,000kWh and $5,300 per annum.