Yarn from wood for textile industry with Spinnova’s innovative technology
Case - Published 25.11.2015
With Spinnova’s new technology it’s possible to produce yarn from pulp without any harmful chemicals. The innovative technology has every chance to revolutionize textile and forest industries. If the 20-30 million cubes of wood would be refined with Spinnova’s technology – it would cover about 20 percent of global cotton consumption.
Currently the yarn producing methods used by the global textile industry are more or less harmful for the environment. For example, the cultivation of cotton is highly water intensive and only about 30 percent of cotton is produced in the areas where water is naturally available in sufficient quantities. The rest of the plantations are using irritation, which significantly increases the erosion of land and impoverishes the aquifers. As a result we are losing land suitable for food production and having groundwater reserves diminishing in ever-increasing pace.
The global textile and yarn industry is mainly leaning to oil-based products such as nylon and polyester yarns. These products aren’t biodegradable and the production processes causes great amounts of nitrous oxide that is more than 300 times stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. It is clear that in the future the production of oil-based products can’t continue on current scale.
The third major sector in textile industry is Man-Made-Cellulose (MMC)-fibres, such as viscose and modal fibres that are wood-based materials. Usually the manufacture of these fibres requires a number of environmentally hazardous chemicals. In addition the high costs of MMC fibre production limits the application possibilities.
Today the recycling rate of textiles is globally about 5-8 percents. However, the changing legislation sets pressure on raising the recycling rate and inventing more environmentally friendly materials that also are recyclable.
Inspiration from a spider
Spinnova Ltd has developed a new type of fibre yarn technology that origins from the ideas of an international study about nano-cellulose and production of a spider web. The new technology is based on optimizing the properties of the raw material and the shape of a nozzle. This allows a smooth flow of fibres through a very small nozzle. In the nozzle the fibres accelerate and align with the flow and bind to each other creating a strong fibre network. A durable and fine textile grade yarn is formed as a result.
For a long time pulp has been a raw material for viscose and other MMC yarns. In the production of MMC the wood fibres are first chopped in to polymers with complex and high-cost processes using chemicals that are a threat to the nature. Spinnova’s unique technology enables direct yarn spinning from wood fibres without chemical treatment. The end product is from natural origins completely and the additives used are environmentally safe. Spinnova’s product is therefore completely recyclable. Fibre yarn technology can be applied to other long-fibrous, also synthetic, raw material.
The new technology can revolutionize textile and forest industries
In 2015 Spinnova won the International Biorefinery competition organized by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. According to the jury, Spinnova’s innovation represents a breakthrough technology that has the potential to revolutionize both textile and forest industries. The forest industry in the Nordic countries have untapped potential that could be used as a raw material for textile fibres. On the other hand, in textile industry there is a great need for new technologies that will response to the challenges of global population growth and environment protection.
Spinnova has collected an initial capital of 1.95 million EUR. The investors are Austrian textile fibre manufacturer Lenzing AG, VTT Ventures Ltd, Besodos Investors Ltd and Finnish private equity investors.
Spinnova is developing further the production processes at the company’s piloting centre, so that it will be scalable for industrial level in the near future.
Janne Poranen, Spinnova Ltd.
tel. + 359 (0)400 138 711
Published 26 Nov 2015