• Nordic Bioproducts Develops Method to Transform Pulp and Old Textiles Into Sustainable Fibres & Yarns



    Finnish startup Nordic Bioproducts, a spinoff from Aalto University, has developed a sustainable plant-based fibre made without toxic chemicals and solvents.

    Called Norratex, the fibre is made by hydrolising cellulose and processing it into a fibre similar to viscose. This method could also potentially be used to turn other sustainable materials, such as paper pulp, forestry waste, and old textiles, into fibres.

    Beautiful and functional

    Already, Norratex has been used to make yarn, which is described as being strong with a “beautiful subtle gloss”. The yarn is highly functional, curling as it should with the optimal amount of friction.

    “Succeeding so soon came as a big surprise to our entire team,” said Nordic Bioproducts R&D Director Ville Nyman.

    Norratex sustainable plant-based fibre
    © Norratex

    Currently the company is looking to commercialise Norratex, with the help of partner CMPC Ventures — the venture arm of CMPC S.A, one of the largest pulp producers in the world. After a year of product development by the partnership, the aim is for the sustainable plant-based fibre to be launched on a pilot scale.

    The search for sustainable textiles

    For the textiles industry, it hasn’t been easy to find materials that are both sustainable and free of animal products. But several companies are rising to the challenge — such as Ecovative, which is making textiles out of fungi, and AlgiKnit, which turns seaweed into yarn. Other materials such as hemp also have considerable potential.

    “It’s great to see when your own ideas lead to new products by the skillful team of engineers in a young company. We are embarking on a new era in developing novel biobased products,” said Olli Dahl, Professor at Aalto University.

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