For this project, Metsä Spring and Japanese ITOCHU Corporation have established a joint venture. The aim of the new company is to demonstrate a new environmentally-friendly technology to produce textile fibres (staple fibres) from sustainable Northern wood. This requires building first a greenfield, semi-industrial production plant.
Hence, the ‘demo plant’ will be built in Äänekoski, Finland, next to Metsä Group’s first bioproduct mill. When the plant is ready (est. 2020), the actually demonstration, which is estimated to last 1-2 years, can begin. The technology to be demonstrated is based on a unique knowledge platform, which has been built by Aalto University (Finland), TITK (Germany), University of Helsinki (Finland) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. The final technical concept is a result of further input by Metsä Group, as well as by European process engineers, chemical companies and equipment suppliers. Business Finland is co-financing the demonstration project and has also supported earlier stages of development. A part of the development work has been performed in projects that are co-financed by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking.