With increasing environmental concerns associated with the production of fibres from cotton and other plant based sources, Nanollose, an innovative Australian company, has developed what it believes is a revolutionary plant-free viscose-rayon fibre product. With its new development, the company aims to offer a sustainable alternative to plant-based fibres such as viscose-rayon, which are commonly used but which the company says have significant environmental impacts.
Viscose-rayon is a well-established fibre made from cellulose predominantly derived from wood-pulp, and used to make everything from home furnishings to clothing. However, there might be significant environmental concerns surrounding its production, as a considerable number of trees are cut down, chipped and then treated with chemicals, followed by energy intensive purification process to source the cellulose required for rayon production, Nanollose says.
“Each year a huge amount of trees are cut down to produce wood-based fibres like rayon. Today’s breakthrough takes Nanollose one step closer to commercialising our sustainable fibres as a very real alternative, so we positively impact and reduce the cutting down of trees and use of toxic processes to create clothing,” commented Alfie Germano, Nanollose’s Managing Director.
Unlike conventional rayon, Nanollose’s sustainable alternative is derived using microbes that convert biomass waste products from the beer, wine and liquid food industries into microbial cellulose, in a process that is said to take less than one month and require very little land, water or energy. The microbial cellulose is then converted into rayon fibres using the Nanollose technology.
As brands, retailers and manufacturers increasingly seek environmentally sustainable fibre resources, Germano says that interest in the company’s technology has been significant. “Over the past three months interest in our fibre technology from multiple textile, apparel and fibre manufactures has been significant, and the next step will be around accelerating towards producing sufficient quantities of rayon fibre samples for these groups,” he explained. “We then aim to collaborate with these global partners who can expedite our development program, and provide technical support and scale for turning fibre into fabrics, which will then go into making clothing.”
Nanollose Ltd is an Australian based biotechnology company which has, aims to continue to develop, innovative proprietary technologies relating to the production, processing and applications of microbial nanocellulose, which have the potential to effect change in the global cellulose industry and to offer an environmentally sustainable alternative to plant-based cellulose materials.