Circular fashion and textile technology group Infinited Fiber Company said it’s looking for a location in Finland to build a flagship factory to produce its regenerated textile fibers for the global market.
Infinited Fiber Company will decide on the location by September. The total investments for setting up the flagship plant are estimated at around 220 million euros ($265 million). Infinited Fiber expects the plant to be operational in 2024.
“This marks an exciting next phase for Infinited Fiber Company,” CEO Petri Alava said. “We are seeing great demand for our circular Infinna textile fiber from global fashion brands. Setting up our own plant is a response to this demand. While technology licensing remains central to our long-term business strategy, this plant will speed up the availability of Infinna to the global fashion and textile market in the short- to medium-term.”
Infinited Fiber’s technology turns cellulose-based raw materials, like cotton-rich textiles, used cardboard or rice or wheat straw, into Infinna, a premium textile fiber with the natural, soft look and feel of cotton. Infinited Fiber currently operates pilot facilities in the cities of Espoo and Valkeakoski, Finland, with a combined nominal capacity of 150 metric tons per year. The planned flagship factory will have an annual capacity of 30,000 metric tons and will use textile waste as feedstock.
“Finland has a long history of cellulose-based industries, excellent engineering capabilities and a strong drive to become a leader in circularity,” Alava said. “We are currently considering several potential locations across Finland where the existing infrastructure is supportive of our plans.”
The plant’s entire output is intended for export. Infinited Fiber is negotiating agreements with several global fashion and textile brands, and believes agreements will be in place before the end of 2021, securing the factory’s entire output capacity for several years.
International technology group Andritz will be a key supplier of the process equipment for the new plant.
“Our versatile product portfolio has the suitable equipment for the mechanical and chemical treatment of textile waste,” Kari Tuominen, president and CEO of Andritz, said. “As a leading supplier to the pulp and paper industry, Andritz can deliver large entities for our customers. Textile waste recycling is becoming mandatory in the EU from 2025 and we are keen to be involved in developing new bio-based fibers from textile waste and also from other cellulose-based materials.”
Finnish waste management company Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto, which is owned by 17 municipalities in Southwest Finland, will supply raw material to Infinited Fiber’s flagship plant from the full-scale textile waste refinement plant it is preparing in the Turku region of Finland. The plant will process all of the end-of-life textiles of Finnish households in cooperation with other municipality owned waste management companies.
“We sort the post-consumer textiles by material into various fiber classes using optical identification technology developed by LSJH and its partners,” Jukka Heikkilä, managing director for Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto, said. “This ensures the quality of the raw material and the resulting fiber products.”
More than 92 million metric tons of textile waste are produced globally every year, with much of it ending up in landfills or incinerators. At the same time, textile fiber demand is increasing, with Textile Exchange estimating the global textile fiber market to grow 30 percent to 146 million metric tons by 2030 from 111 million metric tons in 2019. Infinited Fiber’s circular fiber regeneration technology, which uses waste as its raw material, offers a solution both for capturing waste and reducing the industry’s burden on limited natural resources.