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Birla Cellulose and Nanollose team up on high tenacity lyocell

Jan 12, 2021 (MarketLine via COMTEX) --

Manmade cellulosic fibre producer Birla Cellulose, a unit of India's Grasim Industries, has filed a joint patent application with Australian biotechnology company Nanollose for a high tenacity lyocell fibre made from bacterial cellulose.

Using the lyocell process, a team of fibre experts at Birla Cellulose's Pulp and Fibre Innovation Centre have produced Nullarbor fibre that is said to be finer than silk and significantly stronger than conventional lyocell that is traditionally produced from wood pulp. Details are set out in the patent application 'High Tenacity Lyocell Fibres From Bacterial Cellulose and Method of Preparation Thereof.' 

Birla Cellulose and Nanollose will now focus on moving to the pilot production phase to produce initial commercial quantities of fibre to enable commercial agreements with fashion brands.

Lyocell is a form of rayon, made using a closed loop process with low demand on chemical and water usage and low waste generation. This makes it very environment-friendly and brings with it an elevated demand from clothing brands. Lyocell is widely used in textile and nonwoven applications and has become popular due to a number of desirable strength and comfort characteristics.

The combination of the Nanollose's Tree-Free cellulose, along with Birla Cellulose's closed-loop lyocell production process, could potentially make this Tree-Free lyocell one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable fibres available, the companies say.

The Nullarbor lyocell fibres are produced using feedstock from industrial and agricultural organic waste.

"This innovative development is another important step in our continuing journey to make our fibres more sustainable," says Dr Aspi Patel, chief technology officer of the Aditya Birla Group and Birla Cellulose. "We are looking forward to scaling up this technology in collaboration with Nanollose."

Nanollose executive chairman, Wayne Best, adds: "The Nullarbor fibre produced by the team at Birla Cellulose has exceeded our expectations, and we now have a fibre that is not only more eco-friendly but has superior properties over conventional tree-based fibres. We are very much looking forward to commencing the pilot production and presenting textiles made from this remarkable fibre to the fashion industry."

Nanollose says the collaboration agreement provides it with "a world class and globally recognised industrial partner," with the ability to accelerate development, commercialisation and provide a manufacturing foundation for future textile and clothing brands that uptake Nanollose's Tree-Free fibres.
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