Finnish textile startup Infinited Fiber Company signs new partnerships with H&M Group, Fortum and Virala
Infinited Fiber Company Ltd. (IFC) has raised 3.7 million euros in funding from investors, including H&M Group, Fortum and Virala. IFC is currently running a 50-ton pilot plant in Finland and plans to increase the annual capacity of the next generation sustainable textile fiber production up to 500 tons in order to meet the growing demand from the market.
"I'm very proud that we have created a technology that enables textile waste to be used over and over again by producing a strong, sustainable fiber without compromising quality and comfort. We are delighted to welcome the global fashion retailer H&M Group, as well as Fortum, a leading clean energy and resource efficiency company, and Finnish investment company Virala, to be our new partners in closing the loop for textiles," says Petri Alava, CEO of IFC.
"We're excited about the partnership with Infinited Fiber Company. Their innovation aligns perfectly with the H&M group's sustainability goals and our vision to become fully circular. Infinited Fiber has proven significant potential to accelerate the journey from a linear to a circular fashion industry. We look forward to being part of developing and scaling this technology in the coming years", says Erik Karlsson, Investment Manager for Sustainable Fashion at H&M group's investment arm CO:LAB.
"Fortum is studying possibilities to grow business that is based on the more efficient use of biomass. We believe strongly in biorefining, new technologies and their role in a more sustainably produced textile fibre", says Heli Antila, head of Fortum's business focusing on bio-based solutions.
In addition to cotton rich textile waste, the Infinited Fiber manufacturing process can use most material containing cellulose, e.g. recycled paper, cardboard and agricultural waste such as straw - nevertheless the reborn fiber will be the same. Properties of the Infinited Fiber include a natural soft look and feel, consistent proven quality, 30-40% better color uptake than competing fibers, it's antibacterial and bio-degradable and has excellent moisture absorption qualities. In addition, it has a total cost competitiveness in the textile production supply chain.
"A problem in the textile industry is the growing demand for cotton that simply isn't available. We have proven that for example in denim applications, the commercial quality requirements can be reached with our Infinited Fiber. The global denim industry is pushing us to bring our solutions to the market. Our reborn Infinited Fiber is re-usable forever, carbon neutral and applicable like natural cotton without any microplastics harming the environment", says Alava.
The business model of IFC is to license the Infinited Fiber technology for global fiber producers in textile and non-woven industries. The end-use applications include fashion, disposable personal care products (e.g. wipes, diapers, pads) and technical products (e.g. automotive filters, dairy, construction applications). The production process is protected by several patents in key market areas.
The sale of the first licensed commercial plant with a capacity of 25,000 tons is scheduled for 2020-2021. The pilot plant started up production in March 2018 and is selling solutions to several leading global brands.
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.