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Nordic Bioproducts Group has spun a new plant-based textile fibre

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

Nordic Bioproducts Group (NBG) is a spin-off from Aalto University and the proprietor of the patented AaltoCell™ technology. The company has created a new plant-based textile fibre called Norratex, which is manufactured without harmful chemicals or expensive solvents.

Several partners are involved in the development and commercialization of the new fibre, the most important of which is CMPC Ventures, the Corporate Investment arm of CMPC S.A.. NBG is entering an intensive product development phase aiming at bringing Norratex to pilot scale in 2023.

In the Norratex process, the cellulose is first hydrolyzed in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner, after which the fibre is further processed into a viscose-like textile fibre. The inventor of the AaltoCell™ method, Professor Olli Dahl at Aalto University, was convinced from an early on that the method, developed by NBG, could be applied in the production of plant-based textile fibres. The Norratex method can utilize a wide variety of raw material sources. Fibres can be made from forest industry by-products, textile waste, and ordinary paper pulp. This is a significant advantage over traditional viscose, which is made from dissolving pulp and the cost can be up to 30% higher than paper pulp.

The method has also been explored for textile recycling. The majority of fast fashion uses fibre blends containing both natural and plastic fibres. The recycling of these mixed material textiles is a major challenge due to the lack of efficient and sustainable separation methods. The AaltoCell™ technology offers one potential way to tackle this problem. The method has been tested on a laboratory scale where the natural fibres are neatly separated from the plastics into clean fractions, allowing the fractions to be utilized separately. Now we are looking for partners to develop novel low carbon footprint applications for both material streams to support circular economy innovations.

Nordic Bioproducts Group is a Finnish start-up developing new biomaterials founded in 2019, which employs 16 product development engineers, researchers, commercial and design professionals in Espoo. In 2020, Aalto University and the Nordic Bioproducts Group agreed on a technology transfer agreement, and the global IP rights for AaltoCell ™ technology were transferred to Nordic Bioproducts Group. The AaltoCell ™ method, developed by Professor Olli Dahl and his research group, also enables an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to produce traditional microcrystalline cellulose, or MCC. Nordic Bioproducts Oy's personnel have the enthusiasm, know-how and goal to change the world in a more sustainable direction with the help of new cellulose-based innovations.

CMPC is a sustainable company that produces solid wood products, pulp, paper, tissue and packaging products from certified and renewable forests. Founded in 1920 in Chile, is the 3rd global market pulp producer, with operations in 46 productive facilities, across 8 Latin American countries and global sales to more than 45 countries. CMPC Ventures is the Corporate Venture arm of CMPC, articulating CMPC’s ecosystem to support the companies in the portfolio. It is a Venture Catalyst, not a Venture Capitalist, catalysing innovation and growth for both the startups and CMPC.


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