A Whanganui yarn spinning plant is moving to use radio frequency to remove moisture from felted wool as a way to reduce carbon emissions.
Bremworth, formerly known as Cavalier Bremworth, is getting $800,000 from the Government's decarbonising industry fund to go towards its $4.9 million programme of decarbonisation.
As part of the decarbonisation plan, Bremworth will replace a gas-fired dryer at its Castlecliff plant with one that uses radio waves to do the same job, chief executive Greg Smith said.
"There's a vibration the radio waves put through the yarn, which then turns the leftover water that's on the yarn into steam and hence dries it.
"That's a faster process than we're currently using."
It is part of the wool's finishing process.
The technique has been used in textiles in Europe for several years, but Bremworth will be the first to use it for felted wool and yarn in New Zealand.
"It's a more efficient process," Smith said.
Smith said they now had to commission the radio frequency drying machine to be built and it would probably come from somewhere in India or Italy.
He said he hoped Bremworth would get the machine by the end of next year.
It would then have to be installed and linked into the existing Bremworth equipment while the old dryer was decommissioned.
"There's quite a bit of work to be done ... getting up and running."
The same staff who operated the gas-fired dryer would be trained to use the new machine.
Smith said the decarbonising project was about targeting emissions-producing parts of the business they could easily replace.
"When you're on a journey to decarbonise your manufacturing you need ... to start with the biggest opportunity.
"The way we heat or dry were identified as two major contributors to our emissions," he said."
Smith said the company's Whanganui plant was growing substantially in production output year on year and had taken on more than 20 new staff in the last six months.
Government funding will also go towards a project converting Bremworth's Napier yarn spinning plant from using natural gas process heat to electric heat pump technology.