Bast Fibre Technologies (BFT), headquartered in Victoria, Canada, has completed the installation of a first-of-its-kind dry fiber processing line at the Faser Veredlung Tönisvorst (FVT) plant, which it acquired in October.
BFT will be able to meet customer demand for its sustainable bast fibers from the nonwovens industry immediately following the acquisition of FVT in Tönisvorst, Germany, near Düsseldorf. The facility is also well-suited for quick prototyping (from 100g to 1,000kg) and product development of unique fiber modifications in order to create natural fiber solutions that match customers' specific needs.
FVT is close to both main European centers for bast crop production and nonwoven fabric producers and has over twenty years of fiber processing experience. Its purchase is in line with BFT's objective of developing low-carbon regional supply chains by sourcing, producing, and selling within certain geographic areas.
Sero multi-purpose hemp and Noval linen are the two brands now available from BFT. Hemp is available in a slightly thicker micron for a more abrasive hand feel, whereas Noval is incredibly soft and gives nonwoven wipes with moisture management capabilities a cloth-like feel.
Jason Finnis, BFT's CTO, said that there is a move towards cellulosic for nonwoven disposables, but suggested that this may eventually just be replacing one problem with another, resulting in issues such as biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and increased greenhouse gas emissions – especially since wood-based fibers are also being widely used in textiles for apparel and the packaging industry.
Finnis added that bast crops are a high biomass annual crop that can help relieve the mounting demand on global forest resources while also absorbing carbon, revitalizing soils, and preserving biodiversity. They are simple to grow and will thrive in any climate that yields soy and corn. Summer and winter crops both have a 100-day lead time from sowing to harvesting fiber. Around 1,000 kilograms of dry fiber can be harvested from an acre of land.
BFT operates between bast fiber decorticators and nonwovens manufacturers, providing the industry with carefully individualized and standardized fibers that meet the specific needs of nonwovens producers, cleaning and removing any contaminants, adding and modifying characteristics, and with well over 100 critical control points in its processes.
Finnis added that they're regularly contacted by companies looking for fiber solutions to specific end-product requirements, and they're in a great position to channel these advances through the nonwovens supply chain.
Since 2018, the business has been filing patents, and in 2020, Georgia-Pacific licensed far-reaching global patents relating to incorporating any bast fiber generated on any nonwoven platform.
The company's fibers have been demonstrated to be 'plug and play' and bale-for-bale equivalents for viscose, lyocell, polypropylene, or polyester on both Trützschler and Andritz spunlace systems, at both pilot and commercial scale.
Finnis explained that recycling is not a possibility for nonwoven single-use plastics, but their fibers provide soil-to-soil circularity. They're just finishing up an LCA and are convinced that their fibers will outperform all other nonwovens on the market in the long run. They'll be announcing another acquisition soon that will bring commercial production capacity to the United States.
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