Viscose fibers manufacturer Kelheim recently organized “100 percent cellulose fibers—rethought,” a competition that invited innovative uses of Kelheim fibers, and the company has chosen the winner. Dr. Jürgen Pettrak of Straubinger Entwässerung und Reinigung, a wastewater authority, received a prize of 2,500 euros for his idea to use filters made of functional viscose fibers to filter out endocrine substances in wastewater treatment systems. These substances have increasingly made their way into wastewater due to their growing use in drugs for humans and farm animals.
Kelheim also awarded prizes to proposals using viscose fibers in tailor-made wound care, in semifinished products with printed electrical circuits, in eco-friendly felt pens and in panels of pressed straw for construction applications.
The contest formed part of a larger startup contest supported by the regional government of Bavaria in Germany. Kelheim received more than 20 proposals, which ranged from simple application ideas to, as the company says, “visionary future products.” The entrants included students, industry professionals and academics.
“In R&D we don’t just rely on receiving ideas for new products or new applications in our dreams, but we proceed in a focused and methodical way,” said Walter Roggenstein, research and development manager at Kelheim. “This competition was an attempt to boost our innovation process and to open it beyond the boundaries of our company.”
Kelheim Fibres produces and tests approximately 90,000 tons of viscose fibers every year and exports their products to 44 countries on five continents.