The first shipment of refined microbial cellulose (MC) from Nanollose Ltd (ASX:NC6) has arrived at Birla Cellulose's pilot facilities in India for additional processing and testing before being combined with other cellulosic feedstock and spun into lyocell fiber.
The cooperation with Birla Cellulose will manufacture pilot-scale volumes of a range of lyocell fibres with increasing percentages of MC blended with other cellulosic materials such as wood pulp as Nanollose advances through the phased scale-up to 100% tree-free fibres.
Blended fibres are a typical approach in the fibre and textile sectors, and an increased product variety of blended and 100% tree-free fibres will allow NC6 to appeal to consumers at various price points, hence expanding its potential market.
This first pilot fibre spin is a critical milestone in the commercialization process since it will allow Nanollose to fine-tune its MC processes to achieve the consistency and requirements required for commercial fibre production.
It will also manufacture fibre to develop samples for potential fashion and textiles industry partners, as well as vital technical knowledge about the manufacturing process, which will be enhanced as the firm scales up production.
Dr Wayne Best, executive chairman said they're excited to have sent the first cargo of microbial cellulose to Birla Cellulose since it marks the start of their work at Birla's pilot plant.
He adds with this microbial cellulose in hand, Birla Cellulose's team can undertake additional testing and processing of the material before beginning the actual spinning of the fibre. This is an exciting time for the organisation as they look forward to their first opportunity to obtain adequate quality and quantity of fibre to deliver samples to potential partners.
Nanollose has a stock of around 1.5 tonnes of crude MC (on a dry weight basis) in China, with plans to transport amounts of this material to purification contractors in India and Australia to begin pilot-scale purification studies.
Nanollose and Grasim Industries Limited filed a joint patent application in January 2020 for a high tenacity lyocell fiber manufactured from microbial cellulosic waste.
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