“Through NordicBio, we have deepened our relationship with the Finnish textile sector”

Large quantities of disposable and fossil-based items are used in the healthcare sector. The NordicBio project aimed to reverse the trend and has developed a nonwoven material based on cellulose fibers and mechanically recycled textiles. Through the combination of Finnish and Swedish know-how, the goal was to be able to use the material in medtech applications, and that its production could be scaled up.

Maria Ström framför textilsorteringsanläggningen i Vargön.

Maria Ström in front of the pilot plant for textile sorting in Vargön. Photo: Jerry Lövberg.

Many actors have contributed to the project. The Finnish Institute VTT conducted pilot trials using foam-laid technology for nonwovens, and, also, evaluated washing conditions for used textile fibers. In Sweden, Wargön Innovation carried out textile sorting activities, and RISE shared their expertise in mechanical opening of textile fibers and spinning of yarns. The Swedish companies Cellcomb and Sporda Nonwoven contributed with knowledge and made test runs by using lamination and carding technologies, respectively. Together, the partners managed to bring forward a material that has potential to be used in future medtech applications.

Textil i industrimiljö.

The material was laminated with a starch-based film at Cellcomb. Photo: Henric Nedéus, Cellcom.

Maria Ström from Wargön Innovation has led the Swedish part of the project, and she sees many positive outcomes from the collaboration;

– By combining our pilot and full-scale facilities, we were able to carry out the project successfully. We got access to cutting-edge technology as foam laid test runs were performed at VTT. We also increased our knowledge about washing methods for textile-fiber blends. The project also resulted in a deepened relationship with the Finnish textile sector, and we are now looking for new opportunities to take the results further. For example, a higher proportion of bio-based components could be mixed into the material, and we know which critical properties and process stages we need to improve. The market requests more bio-based and recycled materials, and with further development we see that the material has the potential to be commercialized, says Maria Ström.

NordicBio is one of the project that will be presented at the seminar Key Enabling Technologies for a Sustainable Future – Swedish-Finnish Seminar on Bioeconomy, October 25. Sign up here!

Read more about the project NordicBio.