Finnish consortium to identify business opportunities for sustainable nonwovens

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-12-20 14:26:26 – Finland

The VTT technical research centre's Future of Nonwovens (FoN) project brings together a unique consortium of collaborative partners from across the nonwovens value chain in Finland.

This includes raw material producers Fortum, Metsä Spring, Infinited Fiber Company, and UPM, as well as CH-Polymers, a biobased and sustainable bonding chemical producer for airlaids and composites, Suominen, an airlaid machinery manufacturer, and Valmet, a measurement and automation system provider.

FoN's goals include developing airlaid material prototypes from novel fibers and binders, as well as bio-based and thermoformable airlaid-reinforced composites, comparing airlaid webs to other nonwovens, developing spectroscopic methods for on-line characterization, and creating a roadmap for identifying business opportunities for sustainable nonwovens.

Suominen's goal is to boost sustainable product sales by 50% by 2025, compared to 2019, and to launch at least ten sustainable items every year.

Taina Kamppuri, project manager and senior scientist at VTT, said that the project brings together unique skills and will create new business prospects, jobs, and wellbeing in Finland. The FoN project will develop bio-based and biodegradable nonwoven materials made from softwood pulp, as well as novel cellulose-based textile fibers made from recycled T-shirts and jeans. They're also looking into using bio-based chemicals as binders and using low-energy air-laying technologies to make nonwovens.

Over 50% of synthetic textile fibers in nonwovens will be replaced with sustainable bio-based, biodegradable, and recycled materials in Europe and the United States by 2030, according to the initiative.

As a result, it strives to alter the raw material basis while also investigating airlaying as a manufacturing technology.

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