Fiber and fabric firms continue to collaborate to bring to market innovative and sustainable products. They are also meeting demand by investing in new facilities, many times in the United States to be closer to their customer base.
Lenzing Group, a global producer of wood-based specialty fibers, showcased carbon neutral Lenzing FR fiber for the protective wear sector at Techtextil Frankfurt on Tuesday in a newly launched collaboration with long-time partner Textil Santanderina.
Lenzing also extended its carbon neutral Tencel branded fiber offering to the workwear segment through a partnership with European fabric manufacturer Klopman. The two partnerships mark an important milestone as Lenzing takes an active role in providing eco-friendly alternatives for manufacturers in various segments, collaborating with leading industry partners to find new solutions and redefine sustainability standards.
Lenzing created the carbon neutral FR fibers using a sustainable cellulosic solution for protective wear. In addition to the benefit of reduced carbon footprint, these fibers also offer supply chain transparency as part of Lenzing’s fiber identification technology.
“Sustainability is becoming a key driver in the workwear and protective wear segments,” said Oliver Spöcker, director of protective wear and workwear at Lenzing. “The future success of workwear and protective wear lies in a combination of performance, comfort and sustainability. At Lenzing, we are committed to providing solutions that enable our customers to meet the increasing standards for supply chain transparency and carbon emission reductions.”
For more than 30 years, Lenzing has partnered closely with Textil Santanderina, a Spanish textile company that has an extensive product range. The company is now incorporating the newly launched carbon neutral Lenzing FR fibers into its protective wear offerings.
“We are constantly working on new ways of developing and producing textile products with sustainability at its core,” said Angel Parés, TECHS manager for Textil Santanderina. “We are proud of being the first company worldwide to work with carbon neutral Lenzing FR fibers.”
Lenzing first partnered with Klopman more than a decade ago to replace cotton with Tencel lyocell fibers. The company then moved forward by using Tencel fibers with Refibra technology two years ago. Klopman is now building on this partnership by becoming the first company in the workwear segment to incorporate carbon neutral Tencel fibers.
“We are extremely proud of our partnership with Lenzing and the significant growth we’ve seen over the last 10 years,” said Amaury Sartorius, managing director at Klopman. “By offering carbon neutral Tencel fibers in all our collections, we are enabling companies to actively reduce their carbon footprint and align with the updated guidelines for sustainable textile products from governments in the EU. There is no other option for the future of our planet than investing all our efforts in saving resources, reusing materials and optimizing production.”
HeiQ x Renewcell
Prioritizing the replacement of environmentally polluting polyester in textiles has led to Swedish Renewcell and Swiss HeiQ signing a strategic partnership to manufacture circular HeiQ AeoniQ cellulose filament yarn from textile-to-textile recycled Circulose pulp supplied by Renewcell.
This partnership enables the incorporation of recycled raw materials in what the companies described as “the most modern, climate positive and environmentally friendly yarn production process” to allow for 100 percent circularity in the textile industry.
Capitalizing on their shared vision of a circular and bio-based textile industry, HeiQ and Renewcell have joined forces to commercialize circular and biobased high-tenacity filament yarns as a viable replacement for fossil-based fibers like nylon and polyester at scale. Promising results in initial tests using Circulose as a feedstock for production of HeiQ AeoniQ yarn has created an opportunity for collaboration between the partners in their effort transform the textile industry and transformation and position both companies as leaders in incorporating recycled raw materials in the yarn production process.
Circulose is a branded dissolving pulp product that Renewcell makes from 100 percent textile waste, such as worn-out jeans and production scraps. Dissolving pulp cellulose is what the industry uses to make viscose, lyocell, modal, acetate and other types of regenerated or man-made cellulosic fibers. The difference with Circulose is that it’s made from textile waste instead of wood.
“Our 100 percent recycled textile pulp, Circulose, was born of the idea to do something better than dump or burn the millions of tons of waste this industry creates every year, while also decreasing the need for new high impact virgin materials,” Patrik Lundström, CEO of Renewcell, said. “Over the last years two years, we have successfully proven the applicability of Circulose as a direct substitute to virgin cotton and wood as a raw material in fashion.”
Lundström said the challenge of how to use Circulose as a direct substitute for oil in high tenacity performance fabrics has remained, until now.
“Our partnership with HeiQ, a company that fully shares our vision, utilizes Circulose as a feedstock for the game changing HeiQ AeoniQ yarn and positions us both for a massive breakthrough in the right disruptive direction for the global textile industry,” he added. “One hundred percent textile-to-textile recycled, bio-based, biodegradable and with the physical performance of polyester and nylon, a Circulose HeiQ AeoniQ Yarn will excite any brand interested in climate and environment.”
Carlo Centonze, HeiQ co-founder and CEO, said with Circulose as one source of feedstock for HeiQ AeoniQ, the company will be rescuing tons of textiles from ending up in landfills and preserving trees and forests.
“We eagerly anticipate uniting our ingredient branding expertise to jointly convince brands of the huge advantages of replacing all synthetic, fossil-fuel based textiles and how embracing circularity is both in their interests as well as those of their customers and the planet,” Centonze said.
HeiQ AeoniQ yarns are made out of cellulosic biopolymers that during growth bind carbon from the atmosphere while generating oxygen. This high-performance yarn is positioned to potentially substitute synthetic filament yarns that constitute some 60 percent of global annual textile output of 108 million metric tons.
HeiQ AeoniQ yarns are designed for cradle-to-cradle circularity and can be recycled repeatedly while maintaining consistent fiber quality. The manufacturing process is expected to consume 99 percent less water than cotton yarns.
As demand for nylon 6.6 materials continues to grow, Invista’s polymer business, INV Nylon Polymer Americas, has decided to make a significant investment in its U.S. facility in South Carolina.
The investment will transform the facility’s production process and logistics capability–previously designed to support carpet fiber production–into a polymer-focused plant that can provide increased supply capacity for nylon 6.6 polymer to the merchant market. Construction will begin later this year and is expected to be completed in 2024.
“Invista is known for its high-quality nylon 6.6 polymer, supported by its world-class, upstream chemical intermediates technologies,” said Pete Brown, vice president of Invista Nylon Polymers. “We are excited to continue expanding the application potential for our materials through this investment in South Carolina.”
In addition to its investment in South Carolina, the amount of which the company did not divulge, Invista produces nylon 6.6 polymer in Canada, the Netherlands and China, and last year announced an expansion of its polymer facility in Shanghai.