The Finnish startup company Spinnova is known to be the only company in the world that manufactures completely chemical free wood-based textile fibres. In its process, softwood pulp is transformed into a material like sheep’s wool without using a single chemical.
Nowadays, fibre sourcing are problematic such as, the cultivation of cotton consume lot of arable land and huge amounts of water; oil-based fibres pollute the environment, and many chemicals are needed to produce synthetic fibres.
On the other hand, “In practice, it would even be safe to eat the fibre we produce,” says Janne Poranen, CEO of Spinnova. Moreover it reduces water consumption 99% comparing production of cotton fibres.
Starting with a pilot plant a year ago, Spinnova is showing such promising results that it has doubled its staff in a year and now employs 25 full time people. And now it’s moving towards optimizing industrial concept.
“Our goal for this year and next is to finalise the optimisation of our first industrial concept,” says Poranen.
The size of the world fibre market over 100 million tonnes per year in which Polyester and other oil-based fibres comprise over half of this quantity and cotton accounts for about a further quarter. Other fibres, including viscose and wool, have a much smaller share of the market.
In terms of market size, Spinnova’s fibre production would cover only a tiny fraction of the global market estimating a production between 50 and 100 thousand tonnes of textile fibres each year.
Spinnova have plan to construct a textile mill, connected to an existing pulp mill which would make it possible to integrate the pulp mill’s processes with the manufacturing of Spinnova’s material.
Spinnova’s main procurement partner is the Brazilian pulp giant Suzano Papel e Celulose, which makes pulp from eucalyptus but Spinnova can also utilise the long-fibre pulp derived from local softwoods.
Spinnova being a company in 2014, has announced that it plans to build a facility for producing textile fibre – Spinnova fibre.
“Of course, we want to be able to make an investment decision about the mill as soon as possible,” Poranen says.
The mill may be constructed in Finland, but other locations are also possible. Poranen says there is no decision on that as yet, and all options are still open.