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Spinnova and Kemira to Develop Sustainable Inherent Dyeing for Denim

Finnish fiber innovation company Spinnova has entered into a long-term collaboration with global chemical company Kemira to develop an eco-friendly inherent fiber dyeing method.

Dyeing fiber with the new process could significantly benefit the textile industry and the environment, according to the companies. Spinnova’s inherent dyeing process involves mass dyeing the cellulosic fiber mass before extruding into filament, which avoids the excess use of water, energy, heavy metals and other harmful substances that typically go into dyeing fiber, thread and fabric as subsequent processes.

The textile dyeing and finishing industry is one of the most chemically intensive and has long been one of the worst polluters of fresh water. The possibility of inherently dyeing its sustainable fiber, Spinnova said, could be “an environmental game changer” that could disrupt the denim dyeing process. The patented technology includes zero harmful chemicals and no waste or side streams, making its fiber and production method one of the most sustainable in the world. The fiber is also recyclable and uses only use certified wood or waste streams.

“In addition to being the most sustainable way of dyeing, the fiber maintains this in-built color really well,” Spinnova CEO and co-founder Janne Poranen said. “We have already made some successful trials and the results are very promising,”

Spinnova’s innovation originates from the pulp and paper industry, which is also one of the areas of expertise for Kemira and an important focus in the company’s research and development toward the use of bio-based chemicals.

“We have returned to our roots in a way to improve the quality of the product we have created, while maintaining our zero tolerance on harmful chemicals,” Poranen said.

Mats Berg, Kemira’s director of global business development, said the company is well versed in the chemical applications for the pulp and paper industry and has a long history of enabling raw water, energy and resource efficiency for its customers.

“In collaboration with Spinnova, we can extend our unique know-how into the development of new innovations in the textile industry–not only in dyeing, but also to improve other properties of sustainable textile fiber, such as hydrophobicity and strength,” Berg said.

The first step for Spinnova is to work with brand owners in developing applications ahead of the fiber’s commercially availability. The company is now looking for a brand partner for the disruptive dyeing development.