Spinnova Ltd., a Finnish start-up “cleantech” company, has introduced a new technology to turn wood fibers directly into yarn without complex chemical processes.
The wood fiber manufacturing method was originally developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and Spinnova has continued to develop the technique. One of the partners of Spinnova is Austria-based Lenzing AG, one of the world’s largest wood-based fiber manufacturers, with products such as Tencel, modal and viscose.
The company said the yarn manufacturing method consumes 99 percent less water and 80 percent less energy than cotton.
Spinnova’s new fiber was on display at Finland’s presidential Independence Day reception on Tuesday. The new fiber spun into fabric was worn at the reception by Spinnova chief executive officer Janne Poranen and his wife, Nina. Janne Poranen’s tailcoat vest, bow tie and pocket square and the rosettes of Nina Poranen’s evening gown were made from a fabric based on Spinnova’s new yarn.
Also on Tuesday, Spinnova was selected among the best eight European cleantech start-up companies at the European Venture Summit in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Spinnova feels its product could revolutionize the textile and forestry industries and generate significant business in the future. No harmful chemicals or energy or water-consuming steps are required, as in the viscose process, and the environmental footprint will be much smaller than in the case of the polymer or cotton fiber processes. Polymer extrusion is a key step in the polyester production process.
In the Spinnova manufacturing method, wood fibers are created in such a way as to closely resemble a filament fiber. The method came from an idea by Juha Salmela, cofounder of Spinnova, to combine the web-weaving method of spiders with paper manufacture. The most suitable raw material is provided by spruce and pine trees.
Lenzing, which uses primarily beech wood as its raw material source, is also developing new Tencel fiber on the basis of cotton fabric waste in collaboration with Inditex, linking work in textile recycling with its environmental award-winning closed-loop fiber technology.
In February 2015, Spinnova won the international biorefinery contest organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in Finland, and in 2016, it was named as one of the 20 most promising Finnish start-ups.
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