An environmentally friendly textile fibre made of wood
The textile and fashion sectors need new ways of working, including much more material recycling and fresh fibres with improved sustainability. Metsä Group is trying help in the latter goal by developing a new concept allowing to make textile fibres from high-hemi pulp (a.k.a. paper-grade pulp). We are currently producing our Kuura textile fibre in our demo plant in Äänekoski, Finland. The first test end products, in practise various pieces of clothing, were on display at Japan Fashion Week in the spring of 2021.
The startup of the demo plant in late 2020 marked the beginning of a critical development phase estimated to last a few years. During this phase we will be studying the technical feasibility of the new production method. The project will also investigate, together with Japanese ITOCHU Corporation, the commercial potential of Kuura textile fibre, as well as the possibility of building a commercial textile fibre mill next to a bioproduct mill in Finland.
The project team decided to make some adjustments in the winter of 2022/23 and the demo plant was subsequently re-started in May 2023. Year 2023 also saw a new phase in the factory concept planning, with a dedicated team, together with some key partners, developing and evaluating various alternatives for full-scale production.
Metsä Group’s environmentally friendly textile fibre concept comprises a direct dissolution method with closed cycles for all the chemicals and other similar utilities. A close integration to a bioproduct mill offers additional environmental benefits, like availability of renewable energy in various forms.