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Spinnova and The North Face to develop high-performance, sustainable textiles

Swatches | November 1, 2021 | By:

Spinnova’s natural fiber material is white continuous filament. According to the company, the fiber offers the stretch and strength qualities of cotton and the insulation of lamb’s wool, making it suitable for applications including apparel, footwear, accessories, home textiles and nonwovens. Photos: Spinnova.

Finland-based sustainable fiber developer Spinnova® and global outdoor apparel brand The North Face® are partnering to commercialize and scale Spinnova’s technology for the high-performance outdoor apparel market. 

“This is a great opportunity for us to continue pushing the limits of our material together with The North Face,” says Spinnova’s CEO and co-founder Janne Poranen. “Our goal is to set a new standard for the industry in sustainability and high performance.”

Taking inspiration from the way a spider spins a web, Spinnova developed a process to mechanically refine pulp raw material and transform it into spinning-ready fiber suspension without harmful chemicals and with minimal water usage and CO2 emissions. Upon spinning into filament, the suspension flows through a unique nozzle at a high pressure. The right kind of extrusion causes the fibrils to rotate and align with the flow to create a natural textile fiber. The fiber is then simply dried and collected, ready for spinning into yarn. The fiber contains no microplastics and is 100 percent circular.

Because of the way Spinnova processes pulp, it can use almost any cellulosic biomass, grind it into micro fibrils and spin it into textile fiber. Although wood is the company’s primary raw material, it has also considered leather waste, agricultural waste such as wheat straw and cotton waste. 

Spinnova’s long-term business targets include reaching one million tons of annual Spinnova fiber production capacity in the next 10–12 years. In February 2021 Spinnova announced plans to build its first commercial factory in Finland; it is expected to begin production in late 2022. 

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