The groundbreaking new fibre technologies were developed as part of VTT and Aalto’s TeKiDe (Demonstration Platform for Textile Fibre Recycling) project, which is supported by the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.
The carbamate, BioCelSol and loncell-F technologies turn old cotton textiles into sustainable, high-quality fibre without the use of chemicals, and could potentially support a new low-waste textile industry.
“TeKiDe has created an internationally significant innovation platform,” says programme director Tiina Huotari of the Uusimaa Regional Council. “It is particularly important that the demonstration environment is open and allows companies to experiment and test their new ideas. I hope that a dynamic ecosystem will emerge around the project, which will serve as a growth engine in the circular economy throughout Finland, as well as in the Uusimaa region.”
VTT’s carbamate technology-based method is approaching the commercialisation stage. It transforms cellulose-based materials and discarded cotton textiles, such as sheets and towels, into raw material for textile products. The method is able to recycle waste textiles up to six or seven times without affecting quality.
Aalto University’s contribution to the project was scaling up the loncell-F process, which is nearing the pilot phase, while VTT will demonstrate the BioCelSol technology towards the end of the project.
The project is timely as the consumption of textile fibres has increased significantly in the past decade, and as a result the EU has introduced a new directive banning the dumping of textile waste.
TeKiDe was initiated in the autumn 2016 and will come to an end in the coming months. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the City of Espoo have also provided funds for project.