Multi-million research deal for Metsä Group and Japan partners

The new plant in Äänekoski is being partly financed by Business Finland.

File picture of t-shirt made from recycled paper pulp / Credit: @metsagroup Instagram

The innovation arm of Metsä Group is teaming up with a Japanese company in a new venture to figure out how to turn paper pulp into textile fibres.

The €40m deal with Itochu Corporation will help build and fund a test plant in Äänekoski, central Finland, and is partly financed by the Finnish Government’s funding agency Business Finland.

Construction of the new plant is set to start already this month, and when it’s complete late next year, it will be able to take 500 tonnes of paper pulp and convert it to textile fibres.

“With the plant, and the demonstration project related to it, we aim to prove the technical feasibility of the new textile fibre production technology. Based on the results of the demonstration project, we can then evaluate the technical and economic realities of building a clearly larger plant in Finland in the future” says Metsä Spring CEO Niklas von Weymarn.

The raw materials for the new process come directly from Metsä Group’s wet paper-grade pulp, and the technology has been developed over the last decade.

The company says it wants to identify and develop new business opportunities with the sustainable forest-based bio economy.

In 2017, Metsä Group’s sales totaled €5 billion, and it employs more than nine thousand workers in almost 30 countries. The parent company of Metsä Group is called Metsäliitto Cooperative, which is owned by approximately 104,000 Finnish forest owners.