Metsä Sprind and Itochu invest in test plant for wood-based textile fibres

​Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring Ltd. and Japanese Itochu Corporation have established a joint venture, investing approx. EUR 40 million in building and operating a test plant to demonstrate a new technology for converting paper-grade pulp into textile fibres.

1/2019 TEXT: TIMO NYKÄNEN, PHOTO: METSÄ GROUP

​The demo plant, with an annual capacity of about 500 tonnes, will be located next to Metsä Fibre’s bioproduct mill in Äänekoski. Construction of the plant begins in October 2018 and it is planned to be started up in late 2019.

”With the plant, and the demonstration project related to it, we aim to prove the technical feasibility of the new textile fibre production technology. Based on the results of the demonstration project, we can then evaluate the technical and economic realities of building a clearly larger plant in Finland in the future",

comments CEO of Metsä Spring Niklas von Weymarn.

The new technology to be studied and further developed in the demo project is based on direct dissolution using a novel solvent for the pulp dissolution stage. Metsä Fibre’s wet paper-grade pulp will be used as the raw material. The new technology is estimated to be more environmentally-friendly than the textile fibre production technologies currently in use.

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