Birla Cellulose, a division of Grasim Industries Ltd., a flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group and one of the world's largest man-made cellulosic fiber producers, has completed the first pilot-scale spin of an environmentally friendly next-generation lyocell fiber containing 20% Nanollose microbial cellulose (Nullarbor-20TM).
Birla Cellulose's strategy for commercialization of this technology, which uses sustainable biomass derived from the fermentation of food industry waste, has reached a critical milestone with the first pilot spin, which produced 250 kg of this forest-friendly lyocell fiber.
The fibers generated retain all of Birla Excel's (lyocell) outstanding features, such as comfort, strength, durability, and moisture absorption, while also improving the sustainability quotient by including Nanollose's microbial cellulose, which decreases pressure on virgin wood-based pulp.
The completion of the pilot spin confirms the capability of Birla Cellulose's existing manufacturing setups for producing this forest-friendly fiber and bodes well for the technology's prospective commercialization.
Chief Technology Officer of the Aditya Birla Group and Birla Cellulose, Dr. Aspi Patel, said that developing state-of-the-art technology for industrial-scale lyocell production, using tree-free cellulose, is an exciting development in the area of next-generation alternative feedstock. They’re excited to collaborate with Nanollose to scale up this technology.
Dr Wayne Best, Executive Chairman of Nanollose, said that the completion of our first pilot spin is a key milestone in the Company's development and provides strong proof of concept of their offering at scale. Nanollose now has a strong growth base for the next 12 months as a result of this achievement.
In succeeding pilot spins, the target is to increase the scale and/or proportion of microbial cellulose. Birla Cellulose will be able to generate large amounts of Nullarbor fibers with varying percentages of Tree-Free microbial cellulose mixed together with other cellulosic materials as a result of this.
The first pilot-scale spin process was completed after months of hard work, demonstrating Birla Cellulose and Nanollose's technical teams' ability to overcome the obstacles of scaling production from laboratory to industrial-grade processing across many continents. This included obtaining microbial cellulose that met strict specifications, establishing quality control and optimization procedures, experimenting with drying and purification methods, and exchanging technical information between Nanollose, its contract researchers, and Birla's technical team in relation to the fiber spinning process.
Birla Cellulose, the Aditya Birla Group's pulp, and fiber division is a prominent Man-Made Cellulosic Fibres (MMCF) producer with a focus on sustainability. Birla Cellulose has 12 manufacturing facilities that use ecologically friendly closed-loop technology to recycle materials and save natural resources. Its five advanced research institutes across the world are equipped with cutting-edge facilities and pilot plants.
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