New bioproducts

Our resource-efficient way of working and extensive partner network make it possible for wood-based products to be used, not only as traditional bioproducts, but also in a number of new bioproduct applications.

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.

New biodegradable 3D fibre product

Another new bioproduct that is being developed is our 3D fibre product for packaging. A demo plant is operating at the Äänekoski mill integrate for test production of the fibre products. The demo plant is a joint investment of Metsä Spring and Valmet.

The recyclable and biodegradable 3D fibre product, branded as Muoto™, 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 first Muoto products are currently in the market testing phase. In parallel to market testing, we continue to develop the production line, fine-tune the business model and take the engineering work related to a possible first factory forward.

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Business Finland co-finances the development of both textile fibers and 3D fibre products, in particular as part of the ExpandFibre Veturi project.

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