Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring Ltd. and Japanese Itochu Corporation established a joint venture, which invests approximately €40 million in building and operating a test plant, with the aim to demonstrate a new technology for converting paper-grade pulp into textile fibres. Business Finland, a Finnish governmental funding agency, participates in the financing of the demo project with an R&D loan.
The textile fibre demo plant will be located next to Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, Finland. Construction of the demo plant, with an annual capacity of about 500 tonnes, began in October 2018 and it is planned to be started up in late 2019. The general engineering partner is Sweco.
“With the plant, and the demonstration project related to it, we aim to prove the technical feasibility of the new textile fibre production technology. Based on the results of the demonstration project, we can then evaluate the technical and economic realities of building a clearly larger plant in Finland in the future. During the demonstration project, which is expected to last two to three years from the start-up of the plant, we will also gather customer feedback related to the new fibres,” commented CEO of Metsä Spring Niklas von Weymarn.