Transformation Areas

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Progressive Group: Converting forest waste into biomass

The innovative WoodWeta machine, created by Progressive Group, can recover unused forest residue and process it efficiency into biomass – which can be used as fuel for pulp and paper mills, coarse mulch or over-wintering pads for stock.

The Progressive Group encompasses three engineering companies based in Hamilton. The group has a strong commitment to lean manufacturing with a focus on less waste and elegant, sustainable results.

One of its smartest ideas so far has been the WoodWeta machine, a solution to the millions of tonnes of forest residue left on skids each year considered too difficult to recover. The WoodWeta can effectively recover this residue in one go, from stumps to difficult, dense waste like flax and bamboo. This means that masses of unused plant material that currently rots away or ends up in landfills can now be processed efficiently into biomass. The output is used as fuel for pulp and paper mills, coarse mulch, or over-wintering pads for stock.

Reflecting Progressive Group’s design aims, the WoodWeta is both highly fuel-efficient and low-maintenance. Best of all, it’s both safe and quiet – still a rarity in some parts of the forestry industry.

The Progressive Group received a Judges’ Commendation in the Renewables Innovation category of the 2013 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards.