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Wood processing clusters provide new opportunities

17 January 2019

Establishing industrial clusters around wood processing is a promising prospect for regions with surplus forestry resources and can contribute substantially to New Zealand’s bottom line. In a recently completed research project, Scion identified four regions where wood processors could collaborate with other industries to provide, share and reuse materials, energy, water, and/or by-products for mutual benefit.

If a cluster was established in each of these regions, the increase in onshore processing would provide an additional ~1000 jobs in each region, add a total of NZ$2 billion to New Zealand’s bottom line and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 67,000 tonnes a year by replacing coal with biomass.

The Wood Energy Industrial Symbiosis project mapped New Zealand’s forestry, energy resources and fossil energy-using industries to identify regions where clusters of wood processing operations could be co-located with manufacturing plants.

Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Northland and Southland/Clutha were identified as regions suitable for wood processing clusters using Scion’s WoodScape model and predictions of future log availability to calculate return on capital investment.

Industrial symbiosis in Gisborne would be focused on standalone wood-processing powered by forestry and processing residues. In Ngawha, in Northland, the availability of geothermal energy frees up residues for secondary manufacturing. In Hawkes Bay and Southland/Clutha, residues from wood processing clusters would be used to replace coal or LPG energy sources used by other nearby industries.

By working collaboratively, a group of industries can use resources more efficiently than by any individual company and can result in reduced waste and GHG emissions, job creation and regional development.

For more information: Wood processors working together for energy efficiency.

Source: Scion

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