BioInnovation on Monday announced the granting of its first innovation project to establish locally-produced textiles in Sweden. Led by Pernilla Walkenström from Swerea IVF, the endeavor has a budget of 45.4 million Swedish krona (or $5.2 million) over three years.
During that time period, a collaboration of companies, research institutes and academia will attempt sustainable production of textile fibers from wood- or cellulose-based materials or recycled bio-based textiles.
The global demand for textile fibers has quickly risen due to urbanization and the increasingly large middle class—and is expected to increase threefold by 2050. The production of oil-based and cotton fibers have been found to have negative effects on the environment, so companies like BioInnovation and Sweden’s Swerea are investigating potentially sustainable options like wood-based fibers.
Cellulose, which is derived from the bark or leaves of plants, is a renewable resource, thus an attractive replacement for less eco-friendly materials such as cotton and polyester.
The environmentally responsible aspect of the project is what got Swerea—a research group for industrial renewal and sustainable development—involved. According to the company’s website, “Assuming responsibility for people and the environment is central to everything Swerea does.”
The group formerly collaborated with Innventia to develop the first carbon-fiber composite demonstrator from softwood lignin.