Finnish prize-winning process for high-performance textile fibres from wood

The world population is growing and so is the demand for textile fibres. According to experts, the production of cotton can no longer meet the demand for textiles in the long run. Consequently, alternatives such as regenerated cellulose fibres will play an important role in the future.

Teams at two Finnish Universities –  University of Helsinki and Aalto University – have  managed to produce high-performance textile fibres from wood biomass, using a new type of ionic superbase liquid. The University of Helsinki team developed ionic liquids that are good solvents for unbleached and bleached pulps or cellulosic textile waste. The team at Aalto University developed the ionic liquid-based fibre and film forming process based on the air-gap spinning process.

The researchers have recently been awarded with the Marcus Wallenberg Prize 2022 for their work. This prize is an international award that aims to stimulate pioneering scientific achievements and collaborations that contribute to the growth of knowledge and technical development in areas relevant to forestry and the forest industry. The innovation is expected to lead to a variety of new products and business opportunities for the forest industry, according to Johanna Buchert – Chair of the Marcus-Wallenberg Selection Committee.