In 2019 Chempolis’ highly sustainable fractionation technology was used in the production of 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 skirt made of a 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 bagasse, corn stover, grasses, Empty Fruit Bunch and bamboo into high quality products.
Fortum and Spinnova plan to establish sustainable fibre production in Fortum’s future biorefineries that will use residual biomasses such as agro waste. The biomass will be processed into materials for bioproducts of lignocellulosic origin, as well as cellulosic products. The refineries will be based on fractionation technology, enabling highly resource-efficient utilisation of wheat straw and resulting in significantly lower environmental impact compared to other processing technologies.