The conference advisory board nominated six remarkable products, including cellulose fibres from textile waste, banana production waste and bacterial pulp, a novel technology for producing Lyocell yarns, and a hygiene product. The innovations will be put to the vote of the conference audience on the first day of the event, with the awards ceremony taking place in the evening. The innovation award, ‘Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year 2023’, is sponsored by GIG Karasek (AT), according to a press release by nova-Institute.
Six companies have been nominated for the Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year 2023 award. This is the third edition of the award to be given at the Cellulose Fibres Conference 2023. The conference, which is organised by nova-Institute, will be held from March 8–9, 2023 in Cologne, Germany. The nominees will present sustainable solutions for the industry.
Cellulose fibres show a steadily expanding range of applications. At the same time, markets are driven by technological developments and political framework conditions, especially bans and restrictions on plastics and increasing sustainability requirements for textiles. The European Commission has made the thorough transition towards sustainability and circularity for different industries and especially the textile sector.
The six nominees for the award are Vybrana, HeiQ AeoniQ, Tencel Luxe, Nullarbor, Circulose, and Sparkle Innovations.
India’s Vybrana is a Gencrest’s Sustainable Cellulosic Fibre upcycled from agrowaste. Raw fibres are extracted from the banana pseudo stem at the end of the plant lifecycle. The biomass waste is then treated by the Gencrest patented Fiberzyme technology. Here, cocktail enzyme formulations remove the high lignin content and other impurities and help in fibre fibrillation. The company’s proprietary cottonisation process provides fine, spinnable cellulose staple fibres suitable for blending with other staple fibres and can be spun on any conventional spinning systems giving yarns sustainable apparel. Vybrana is produced without the use of heavy chemicals and minimised water consumption and in a waste-free process where balance biomass is converted to bio stimulants Agrosatva and Bio Fertilisers and organic manure.
Austria’s HeiQ AeoniQ is the disruptive technology and key initiative from HeiQ with the potential to change the sustainability of textiles. It is the first climate-positive continuous cellulose filament yarn, made in a proprietary manufacturing process and the first to reproduce the properties of polyester and nylon yarns in a cellulosic, biodegradable, and endlessly recyclable fibre.
HeiQ AeoniQ can be manufactured from different cellulosic raw materials such as pre- and post-consumer textile waste, biotech cellulose, and non-valorised agricultural waste, such as ground coffee waste or banana peels. It naturally degrades after only 12 weeks in the soil. Each ton of HeiQ AeoniQ saves five tons of CO2 emissions. The first garments made with this innovative cellulosic filament fibre were commercially launched in January 2023.
Austria’s Tencel Luxe is Lenzing’s new versatile Lyocell yarn that offers an urgently needed sustainable filament solution for the textile and fashion industry. A possible botanical alternative for silk, long-staple cotton, and petrol-based synthetic filaments, is derived from wood grown in renewable, sustainably managed forests, and produced in an environmentally sound, closed-loop process that recycles water and reuses more than 99 per cent of organic solvent.
Certified by The Vegan Society, it is suitable for a wide range of applications and fabric developments, from finer high fashion propositions to denim constructions, seamless and activewear innovations, and even agricultural and technical solutions.
In 2020, Australia’s Nanollose and India’s Birla Cellulose started a journey to develop and commercialise tree-free Lyocell from bacterial cellulose, called Nullarbor. The name derives from the Latin “nulla arbor” which means “no trees”. Initial lab research from both ends led to a joint patent application with the patent “production of high-tenacity Lyocell fibres made from bacterial cellulose”.
Nullarbor is significantly stronger than Lyocell made from wood-based pulp; even adding small amounts of bacterial cellulose to wood pulp increases the fibre toughness. In 2022, the first pilot batch of 260 kg was produced with 20 per cent bacterial pulp share. Several high-quality fabrics and garments were produced with this fibre. The collaboration between Nanollose and Birla Cellulose now focuses on increasing the production scale and amount of bacterial pulp in the fibre.
Sweden’s Circulose made by Renewcell is a branded dissolving pulp made from 100 per cent textile waste, like worn-out clothes and production scraps. It provides a unique material for fashion that is 100 per cent recycled, recyclable, biodegradable, and of virgin-equivalent quality. It is used by fibre producers to make staple fibre or filaments like viscose, Lyocell, modal, acetate, or other types of man-made cellulosic fibres. In 2022, Renewcell, opened the world’s first textile-to-textile chemical recycling plant in Sundsvall, Sweden – Renewcell 1. The plant will eventually reach 120,000 tons of annual capacity.
US-based Sparkle Innovations has designed sustainable, plastic-free, biodegradable, and compostable Sparkle sanitary pads. From product to packaging, they are made up of around 90 per cent cellulose-based materials with top sheet, absorbent core, release paper, wrapping paper and packaging made of cellulose-based fibres.
Whether Sparkle pads end up in a compost pit, are incinerated, or end up in a landfill, they are a more sustainable alternative compared to conventional pads that contain large amounts of plastics, complex petro-chemical based ingredients, and artificial fragrances. When tested according to ISO 14855-1 by a leading independent lab in Europe, Sparkle pads reached over 90 per cent absolute biodegradation within 90 days in commercial composting conditions.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (NB)