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HELSINKI – Pulp and paper supplier Storo Enso is the latest partner in a joint venture first established in 2014 by H&M and the Ikea Group, which aims to develop a new way to produce ‘cost-effective’ man-made cellulose fibres that have similar properties to existing viscose and lyocell textile.

As part of its commitment to the ‘TreeToTextile’ partnership, Stora Enso will set up a demonstration plant for the technology at one of its Nordic facilities, using ‘new technologies’ that are said to have a more favourable environmental profile than existing cellulosic fibre production.

A key aim of the project is also to make these fibres ‘low-cost’.

“The raw material base is the same: cellulose,” Annica Karlsson, material & innovation leader for textiles at Ikea told Ecotextile News. “However, the process has a (more) favourable environmental profile. It is based on chemicals that are recycled and reused. There are no emissions of sulphur to land, air and water. Also, reusing the chemicals contributes to lowering the manufacturing costs.”

Even in some of the cleanest viscose and lyocell manufacturing facilities, there have been problems with emissions of carbon disulphide from the cellulosic fibre production process. Although during a private visit to the Lenzing lyocell facility in Austria earlier this month, Ecotextile News, noted no noticeable odour of sulphur in the production plant itself or the surrounding area where waste gases are recovered, recycled and re-used. 

Are we simply re-inventing the wheel for the sake of lower cost fibre?

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