Textile fibres

In 2019, Chempolis’ highly sustainable fractionation technology was used in the production of the world’s first clothing made from agricultural waste – wheat straw.

The straw was first processed into cellulose with Chempolis’ technology and turned into fibre by the Finnish sustainable fibre technology company Spinnova. Spinnova’s technology turns microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) directly into fibre mechanically without any dissolving or harmful chemical processes.

The co-operation between Chempolis, Spinnova and the Finnish energy company Fortum resulted in the production of a knitted t-shirt, a jacket and a skirt made of woven fabric on organic cotton warp. The prototype material is unique also due to its extremely low environmental impact from raw material extraction, processing and manufacture, verified by life-cycle analysis (LCA).

Wheat straw is currently mostly discarded or even burned in the fields. As it can now be used in numerous textile applications, this opens up huge possibilities globally. Chempolis’ fractionation technologies can be used to refine also hardwood and softwood and non-food biomasses such as bagasse, corn stover, grasses, empty fruit bunch and bamboo into high-quality products.

Sustainable fibre production could be established to future biorefineries that would use residual biomasses such as agrowaste. There, the biomass would be processed into materials for bioproducts of lignocellulosic origin, as well as cellulosic products. The refineries would be based on fractionation technology, enabling highly resource-efficient utilization of wheat straw and resulting in significantly lower environmental impact compared to other processing technologies.

Read the press release