Stora Enso's Kvarnsveden Mill near Borlänge is the company's largest production facility in Sweden. Photo: Stora Enso
The company will invest in TreeToTextile, a joint venture between the inventor and entrepreneur Lars Stigsson and the two companies, and will also host a new demonstration plant at one of its facilities.
“It's fantastic to see how the idea of utilizing forest resources for a more sustainable textile has developed from lab stage to a commercially viable product in just a few years,” Stigsson said in a statement.
The process Stigsson has helped develop takes raw material from renewable forests and then regenerates the cellulose in it into a textile fibre. The joint venture claims that its process uses less energy and requires fewer chemicals than it takes to make conventional fibres such as cotton or polyester.
“With the help of our new partner, we will be entering an industrialization phase. The new fibre that we have developed is both sustainable and produced at a lower cost,” TreeToTextile's chairperson Annica Karlsson said.
Markus Mannström, Executive Vice President of Stora Enso's Biomaterials division, said that the company hoped that the company would expand the growing market for textiles made from wood pulp.
“Stora Enso produces dissolving pulp for textiles based on renewable and fully traceable wood from sustainably managed forests,” he said. “It will be exciting to participate in the industrialization of this technology at one of our facilities to meet growing demand.”
Lena Julle, Category Area Manager Textiles at Ikea, which plans to use the textiles in its products, said that the involvement of Stora Enso marked an important landmark.
“With Stora Enso as a partner we now add industrial knowledge and deep competence within the cellulose field,” she said.
“This, together with existing consumer and textile knowledge as well as an entrepreneurial spirit, brings us one step closer to our goal of introducing a new sustainable low-cost fibre for the many.”