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What RGE Has Done a Year After $200M Fiber Innovation Investment

RGE has released a 2019-2020 progress report on its commitment to invest $200 million in next-generation textile fiber innovation and technology over a 10-year period.

RGE is the world’s largest viscose producer through its business groups Sateri and APR, with a strong presence in Asia where textile demand growth intersects with the textile production hub, presenting an opportunity to drive change. The report provides a summary of the activities undertaken by RGE’s units involved in the fashion value chain to advance its ambition toward closed loop, circular and climate-positive cellulosic fibers.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that the virgin resources we draw on to make a range of daily essential products are renewable,” Bey Soo Khiang, vice chairman of RGE, said. “But this does not mean that we rest on our laurels. In fact, we are taking our sustainability commitment to the next level by exploring how waste can also be used as a resource to regenerate new materials and give rise to a truly circular economy.”

The target allocation for the $200 million investment over 10 years is set at 70 percent in scaling up proven clean technology in fiber manufacturing, 20 percent in bringing pilot scale production to commercial scale and 10 percent in research and development (R&D) in emerging frontier solutions.

RGE has adopted a three-pronged approach to its investments–sourcing-ready solutions in the market, investing in startups and strengthening its in-house R&D capabilities.

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In the past 12 months, notable achievements included the launch of Finex, a Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)-certified fiber containing up to 20 percent recycled content produced using a 35,000 ton per year commercial line; inaugural production of Lyocell, a closed-loop fiber that uses minimal chemical and a solvent that is nearly fully recoverable and recycled, and new R&D facilities in China and Indonesia.

The company also initiated an in-house cotton textile waste recycling project. During the year, RGE enhanced existing partnerships and forged new ones to promote progress toward broader goals.

Its co-operation with Infinited Fiber Company now explores the retrofitting of viscose production with the startup’s carbamate technology. A comprehensive study of the textile waste landscape in China in partnership with the China Association of Circular Economy is planned to commence early next year.

The report presents, for the first time, related targets for RGE’s two viscose business groups in the coming decade. Viscose and lyocell manufacturer Sateri is set to have a product with 50 percent recycled content by 2023, and to reach 100 percent by 2030. It also aims for 20 percent of its feedstock to contain alternative or recycled materials by 2025.

Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) will source 20 percent of its feedstock from alternative or recycled materials by 2030.

“I am very pleased with our progress in the past year,” Allen Zhang, president of Sateri, said. “We have advanced quickly in spite of the challenges brought on by a global health pandemic. As a large and growing fiber producer known for product quality and cost-competitiveness, volume is both an advantage and disadvantage. While we are well-placed to scale solutions, we are currently constrained by the readiness of circularity specific technology and, in the case of textile recycling and non-wood feedstock, the availability and volume of alternative feedstock. But with clear goals towards 2030, we are committed to accelerating our efforts.”

RGE Pte Ltd. manages a group of resource-based manufacturing companies with global operations. Founded in 1973, the assets held by RGE companies today exceed $20 billion. With more than 60,000 employees, it has operations in Indonesia, China, Brazil, Spain and Canada.