Infinited Fiber, a spin out from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland which turns cellulosic waste into new textile fibres using a chemical process, has received new funding from RGE Pte Ltd – a company which also owns Asian viscose supplier Sateri, Asia Pacific Rayon and energy firm Pacific Oil & Gas. RGE joins a group of other investors including H&M Group, Virala and Fortum in a bid to scale up its technology and a ‘strategic co-operation agreement’ has also been signed between RGE and Infinited Fibre.
“This new financing will enable us to finalise the scaling of the technology and to extend our fibre production capacity to enable global leading brands to bring capsule collections to the markets in 2020,” said Petri Alava, CEO of Infinited Fiber. Details of the size of the investment were not disclosed, although in total Infinited Fibres says it has raised 8 mn euro of funds this year, including 1.96 mn euro recently awarded by the European Innovation Council (EIC).
Since early 2018, IFC has operated a 50-tonne per annum pilot plant in Espoo, Finland, that produces Infinited Fibre for testing purposes with global brand owners such as H&M, VF Corporation and their manufacturers. Recently, the company leased production facilities in Valkeakoski city, Southern Finland, for a new pre-commercial 500-tonne per annum plant and customer training centre that will start up in early 2020.
“This new investment amount, the largest single IFC has received to date, supplements the earlier partnerships with H&M Group, Virala and Fortum, we announced in April this year. We are delighted to have RGE on board as a strategic partner as we can apply what we learn from their global operations to accelerate our plan to bring our technology to large-scale manufacturing,” said Alava.
RGE says it’s keen to support innovative next-generation solutions that can be applied at industrial scale. This new technology brings together the use of recycled feedstock and cleans solvent in a ‘circular way’ to produce new textile fibres that were originally described as being halfway between cotton and viscose in terms of their properties.
Collectively, RGE says its Sateri and Asia Pacific Rayon business groups produce about 1.4 mn tonne of viscose annually “using raw materials from renewable plantations.” “As a leading viscose producer, we strive to continually seek solutions to improve the sustainability performance of our manufacturing practices and products,” said Tey Wei Lin, President of RGE. In total IFC has raised 8 mn euro of funds this year, including 1.96 mn recently awarded by the European Innovation Council (EIC). Infinited Fibre says its technology can turn textile, cardboard and agricultural waste into new cellulosic textile fibres and can be “circulated infinite times while preserving 100 per cent quality.”