An environmentally friendly textile fibre made of wood
Of all our new bioproducts, the pulp-based textile fibre Kuura is furthest along the development path. We are currently producing it at our demo plant at the Äänekoski mill integrate, and the first products made from it were on display at Japan Fashion Week in the spring of 2021.
The start-up of the demo plant in 2020 marked the beginning of a trial project lasting a few years, during which we will be studying the technical feasibility of the new industrial-scale production method for textile fibres. The project will also investigate the commercial potential of wood-based textile fibre, as well as the possibility of building a textile fibre mill significantly larger than the demo plant in Finland.
In 2023, a new method will be developed at the Äänekoski demo plant, which would enable the production of Kuura textile fiber from Metsä Group's softwood pulp. In the development work, the process chemistry is changed and the equipment is improved to speed up the development of pulp-based textile fiber.
Metsä’s environmentally friendly textile fibre concept initially involved a direct dissolution method that uses a brand-new pulp-dissolving compound. Metsä Fibre’s undried paper pulp is used as the raw material.
New biodegradable 3D fibre product
Another new bioproducts that is being developed is our 3D fibre products for packiging. A demo plant is under construction at the Äänekoski mill integrate for test production of the fibre products. Metsä Spring and Valmet are building the demo plant together.
The recyclable and biodegradable 3D fibre product is produced from wet wood-fibre pulp without intermediate phases. Its lightweight structure and new production technology minimise the need for energy and raw materials, simplifying supply chain logistics.
The new 3D fibre product has potential in the large-volume food packaging market, which is continuously looking for more sustainable alternatives to plastic. The test runs of the pilot plant are scheduled for the end of 2021.
The development of both wood-based textile fibre and 3D fibre packaging is part of the Expand Fibre co-operation funded by Business Finland.