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Finland project widens cellulose fiber base

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has received another funding boost to improve wood-to-textile value chains, enabling increased production of man-made cellulose fibers.

The VTT-coordinated project is known as the green chemicals and technologies for the wood-to-textile value chain (Grete). The Grete project aims at developing innovative technologies for wood pulp modification, cellulose dissolution and fiber-quality generation. Currently, the raw material base for the production of man-made cellulose fibers is limited, as only dissolving-grade wood pulps are commonly used. The project hopes to tackle this by widening the sustainable raw material basis for man-made cellulose fibers.

The solvent systems used for the production of commercial man-made cellulose viscose and lyocell fibers are based on toxic and explosive chemicals, but Grete hopes to increase safety, sustainability and the feasibility of man-made cellulose fiber manufacturing. There are currently several steps in the textile production value chain which cause extensive freshwater pollution, such as finishing treatments and dyeing of textiles. Fibers with novel functional properties open up the possibility for targeted and water-scarce finishing treatments.

By participating in the Grete project, companies hope to gain understanding on the pulp-regenerated cellulose-textile value chain and technologies and also understand the key requirements and specs for pulp on future markets.