What you cannot find on our website II – (Very) frequently asked questions

A while ago, we put up a survey about our website and overall communications. In the survey, we specifically asked if there’s information that you cannot find on the website, and received quite a few good questions. These are questions I answer every day. The questions are simple, yet the answers aren’t short, as this is a good chance to explain who we really are and what we’re doing. Hence, here’s post 2/2.

How can I get a better description of the technology involved? How is it different from a viscose or lyocell process?

We realize it’s frustrating not seeing anything here that would explain the disruptive technology in detail, let alone pictures of the production line. But think: would a magician give away his tricks? The technology concept is, at least for the time being, secret for a good reason – to avoid infringement.

However, we do understand the need for facts and data with something completely novel like this. To prove the sustainability of our method and its value chain, a lifecycle analysis will be made once we have fine tuned the newly started industrial scale process in our pilot facility.

The difference to a viscose process and a lyocell process we can explain. In short, the main differentiator of Spinnova’s method to all other cellulose-based fibre processes out there is that we don’t use dissolving pulp or dissolving processes. Dissolving is used in man-made cellulosic textile fibre processes to break the cellulose into a fine composition we call a polymer dope, to form a fibre suitable for textiles. Until now, this has only been possible by breaking the fibre up with chemicals.

The cellulose that comes into our process is micro fibrillated cellulose, which, after a pulping process at a pulp mill, is only mechanically ground into a very fine form.

In a viscose process, the dissolved wood pulp is further chemically broken and converted into a soluble compound. It is then forced through a spinneret to produce filaments, which are then chemically solidified. The viscose process is toxic to both the environment and the people who work in the process.

Lyocell is also produced from dissolved pulp, but the process is much more sustainable than viscose production. The solvent that this process uses is organic and not as harmful as carbon disulfide, i.e. sulphur that’s used in the viscose process. These dissolving processes are also more water intensive than ours, as they include several “baths” for the material.

More on the lyocell process by Wikipedia

More on the viscose process by Wikipedia

What kind of clothes can be made of this? Do you have product demos, look, feel, and projected market use introduction?

The fibre is still in the R&D phase and not commercially available, so it’s a bit early to give out exact properties or test results for it. It seems like it’s suitable for all kinds of textiles: clothes, home textiles, shoes, upholstery, industrial and medical textiles.. You name it. In its most natural form the fibre feels like cotton or linen, but it’s likely we can change its properties somewhat while staying true to our 0% harmful chemicals commitment. There’s a lot of innovation out there for organic substances we can implement in the textile industry processes and replace more harmful ones.

We will be spending this year and beyond to test the fibre in different applications with our brand partners. We hope to be able to introduce these prototypes as soon as possible. These will mostly be sustainable versions of existing products, but having those products commercially available will take some time.

What the applications are is up to the brands. Also, it’s likely that depending on the demand, we will be introducing several variations of the (wood-based) fibre, based on the variations we can make. The waste stream-based fibres are not discussed here, because their R&D is not quite as far along as the wood cellulose based fibre’s – but they are definitely coming.

How/where (if possible) to invest in your shares?

We are delighted to see new, potential investors contacting us. Spinnova is, however, not a public company; it’s main owners are the founders, our strategic, industrial partners and Finnish investors. However, a growing company with potentially big investments in the horizon needs to keep their financing options open. E.g. a public offering is not in the cards at the moment, but you never know..

Where can I find Spinnova job vacancies?

Any openings we will have will be here on the website, easily found. We are a small team of 14 people and we are growing, and our needs might change fast. Again, we recommend following our digital channels, as any news on this too will be there for sure.

Stay sustained <3

Emmi

Not happy?

If you have a question that was not answered in this post or the previous one, you can always ask us at comms@spinnova.com!