ASX listed technology company Nanollose Limited (ASX: NC6) has created what it believes to be the world’s first Plant-Free viscose-rayon fibre, marking a significant breakthrough for the global clothing industry that until now, have had limited eco-friendly Plant-Free rayon fibre solutions available to them.
According to the company this gives them a large opportunity in offering a sustainable alternative for plant-based fibres such as Viscose-Rayon, which are commonly used, but have significant environmental impacts.
Viscose-Rayon (also referred to as “rayon”) is a well-established fibre made from cellulose predominantly derived from wood-pulp, and used to make everything from home furnishings to clothing. However, the company believes there are significant environmental concerns surrounding production as a considerable amount of trees are cut down, chipped and then treated with hazardous chemicals followed by an energy intensive purification process to source the cellulose required for rayon production.
Nanollose’s Managing Director, Alfie Germano, said; “Each year a huge amount of trees are cut down to produce wood-based fibers like rayon.
Today’s breakthrough takes Nanollose one step closer to commercialising our sustainable fibres as a very real alternaHve so we posiHvely impact and reduce the cutting down of trees and use of toxic processes to create clothing”
Unlike conventional rayon, Nanollose’s sustainable alternative is derived using microbes that convert biomass waste products from the beer, wine and liquid food industries into microbial cellulose, in a process that takes less than one month and requires very little land, water or energy. The microbial cellulose is then converted into rayon fibres using the Nanollose technology.
As brands, retailers and manufacturers increasingly seek environmentally sustainable fibre resources, Mr Germano says interest in the company’s technology has been significant;
“Over the past 3 months interest in our fibre technology from multiple textile, apparel and fibre manufactures has been significant, and the next step will be around accelerating towards producing sufficient quantities of rayon fibre samples for these groups”
“We then aim to collaborate with these global partners who can expedite our development program, and provide technical support and scale for turning fibre into fabrics, which will then go into making clothing”
Mr Germano who has held multiple positions at some of the largest global apparel brands including VF & Gap Clothing, has seen the industry change drastically over the years and believes sustainability is the future.
“My 30 year tenure in the textile and apparel industry has opened my eyes to the environmental concerns that plague the industry. I believe we are at an inflection point where the industry will begin to increase their search for sustainable alternatives”
In April this year, retail juggernaut H&M released their sustainability report, outlining several new goals including a commitment to use 100% recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030 and to become climate positive throughout it’s entire value chain by 2040. And Zara joined the movement with the launch of their new sustainable line ‘Join Life’ modelled by Sasha Pivovrova.
“The entire industry is experiencing a green wind of change that is customer driven, everyday we see headlines showing this shift is becoming more solidified, and we believe we have a solution” Mr Germano said.
In addition to this, as an important first step to protecting the intellectual property of this fibre breakthrough, Nanollose is has filed a provisional patent.