Brazil-based largest wood pulp maker Suzano SA is partnering with the Finnish cellulose fiber startup Spinnova to build a commercial-scale plant to produce a new green fiber made from wood pulp.
Suzano and Spinnova will set up their $24.3 million worth plant in Jyvaskyla, north of the Finnish capital Helsinki. Investment in the project totals about $60 million, including investment by Suzano in the production of micro-fibrillated cellulose raw materials, Spinnova said.
The 50-50 joint venture aims to begin commercial production by the end of 2022, said Mr. Janne Poranen, Chief Executive of Spinnova.
“Unlike viscose, another textile fiber also made from wood, the pulp provided by Suzano to be used by Spinnova is processed without chemicals. Instead, it’s refined mechanically. We use much less water than cotton in the whole process, from the eucalyptus cultivation through the fiber production. Several research projects based on making cloth from wood are underway.”
Spinnova has developed its technology in collaboration with fashion companies such as Bestseller, Marimekko, and Bergans. The startup company also stated that the world’s second-largest fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB will also join as a brand partner.
Swedish apparel giant’s technology will allow the production of textile fiber without using environmentally damaging dissolvents. “The fact that these fibers can be recycled into a new fiber, again and again, makes the fiber disruptively circular,” the company added.
Mr. Poranen further remarked that if demand for fiber grew, it would be possible to scale up production rapidly, and said the technology could be used to manufacture fiber from agricultural waste such as wheat or barley straw.