Finnish textile startup Infinited Fiber Co. (IFC) recently formed new partnerships with fashion retailer H&M, Finnish investment company Virala, and clean energy and resource efficiency company Fortum, with the aim of more opportunities to close the loop for textiles.
“Fortum is studying possibilities to grow business that is based on the more efficient use of biomass. We believe strongly in biorefining, new technologies and their role in a more sustainably produced textile fiber,” said Heli Antila, head of Fortum’s business focusing on bio-based solutions.
IFC is currently running a 50-ton pilot plant in Finland and plans to increase the annual capacity of sustainable textile fiber production to 500 tons to meet the growing demand.
In addition to cotton-rich textile waste, the Infinited Fiber manufacturing process can use most material containing cellulose (recycled paper, cardboard and agricultural waste such as straw). The company reports that its process allows the reborn fiber to retain quality and comfort. IFC says that properties of the Infinited Fiber include better color uptake than competing fibers; antibacterial capabilities and biodegradability; and moisture absorption.
“A problem in the textile industry is the growing demand for cotton that simply isn’t available. We have proven that, for example, in denim applications, the commercial quality requirements can be reached with our Infinited Fiber. The global denim industry is pushing us to bring our solutions to the market. Our reborn Infinited Fiber is reusable forever, carbon neutral and applicable like natural cotton without any microplastics harming the environment,” said Petri Alava, CEO of IFC.
The business model of IFC is to license the Infinited Fiber technology for global fiber producers in textile and nonwoven industries. Applications include fashion, disposable personal care products (wipes, diapers, pads) and technical products (automotive filters, dairy and construction applications).
The production process is protected by several patents in key market areas. The sale of the first licensed commercial plant with a capacity of 25,000 tons is scheduled for 2020–2021. The pilot plant started up production in March 2018 and is selling solutions to several leading global brands.