CLIC Innovation: Greener clothes from wood fibre
"Our project involves seeking new, higher-value products made of cellulose and wood fibre. The most important products will be textiles and composite materials, such as sports rackets," says Christine Hagström-Näsi, Senior Advisor of the Board of CLIC Innovation Oy.
Highly rated Finnish expertise is supported by our country's long tradition in the paper industry.
"Numerous studies have already been performed, but few new products have emerged on the market so far. Our cooperation with Aalto University and the University of Helsinki is already at such an advanced stage that Marimekko, for example, has demoed our products by turning them into dresses and fabrics."
In addition to clothing, cellulose and wood fibre can be used for other textiles, such as curtains, chair covers and padding. Technical textiles are a third potential use. Composite materials can be rendered more ecological by reinforcing them with materials such as wood fibre and replacing plastics with biopolymers. Composites have many uses in the construction industry, automotive industry and design.
First applications in design products
Competitive Finnish expertise is particularly visible in design goods. Since the Finnish consumer market is rather small, the project aims to go strongly international.
It now also involves domestic fibre producers, technology suppliers and start-ups operating in the end product market. A good example of this are fibre bags that can replace plastic ones.
"We need more. Our first intended market is Europe and what are called high end products. These are mainly intended for well-to-do customers with an interest in design. Demand for the products will rise once their features have been demonstrated in this way," says Hagström-Näsi says.
The project is creating networks with the support of other ecosystem project actors, such as Pöyry Oy. Intensive use is being made of international contacts and networks.
"The ecosystem maps existing actors and new ones who would complement the network."
New methods reduce toxins
One of the key objectives of the project is environmental friendliness. The process uses domestic trees.
In addition, environmental friendliness and occupational safety are key factors. For example, cotton production is not ecologically sustainable at the moment. In addition, the production of viscose, an older wood fibre textile, involves occupational safety problems.
"The manufacture of viscose requires a chemical which is harmful to humans. This is not always taken into consideration in low-cost countries, for example," explains Hagström-Näsi.
Using the new method, wood fibre undergoes dissolution and deposition and is then stretched to create textile fibre. Sustainable wood fibre is also easier to recycle. Ecologically oriented consumers are already awaiting new products. Finnish companies may be able to help and assistance is also being sought from abroad.
"The project is still in a kind of laboratory phase. Our objective is to develop pilot production quickly, in order to provide work for the various interested parties."
An ecosystem project for cellulose and wood fibre products is one of the ecosystems of Tekes BioNets programme. Ecosystem coordinator, CLIC Innovation, develops the functioning of the ecosystem and leads identified business potentials to the goal. The research and development and growth and export projects and pilots may apply funding through Tekes' application periods.
Other Team Finland -services for getting the business solutions to the market are available too.
For further information, please contact
Tel. +358 50 3222 401
christine.hagstrom-nasi (at) clicinnovation.fi
CLIC Innovation Oy
Tel. +358 2950 55667
tuula savola (at) tekes.fi.
Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation