Spinnova opens first commercial factory and the only by-product is heat, which is being recycled
A decade from now, the aim is to reach 1 million tonnes in production of the wood-based fibre.
31 May 2023

The Finnish material provider experienced a big week last week. Located in Jyväskylä in central Finland is the first commercial factory, operated by Spinnova and Suzano’s joint venture Woodspin, which has also announced plans to open a second site to scale production further.

Diana Balanescu, Brand Director, Spinnova, what will you produce?

— Suzano is the raw material provider and we come with technology and the brand, she explains. We’re ramping up production until the end of the year, where the aim is to reach 1,000 tonnes. In the next 10 years, the aim is to reach 1 million. And that also means that we’re already looking into feasibility studies and discussion where the next plant could be. A lot of development is happening and as soon as it’s finalized, we will reveal it.

— The biodegradable textile fibre is made using our abundant supply of responsibly-sourced eucalyptus pulp. This has a radically lower environmental impact than alternative fibres such as cotton, offering one of the few genuinely scalable solutions to support sustainable production, says Christian Orglmeister, Executive Director New Business at Suzano.

As the only by-product of Spinnova’s production is heat, the new facility doesn’t even require an environmental permit to operate. The excess heat is recycled into the local district heating system, estimated to save 2.4kg CO2e per kg of fibre produced, which would otherwise be required to generate district heat.

Diana Balanescu, you now have a long list of partnering brands, especially in fashion and outdoor.

— Yes, the last one that we communicated was Halti just a few weeks ago. And for the rest of the year, we’re working on a few different ones, mostly in fashion, but exploring other applications of the fibre as well, doing research and development to see where it suits best.

For the opening of the new factory, Spinnova also presents a special capsule together with emerging Finnish designer Sofia Ilmonen, where the navy-coloured fabric has been with reactive dyeing and treated with enzyme treatment.

— We’ve been working on it from the beginning of this year, she tells us during a presentation at Fashion in Helsinki. 20% of the fibre used has been Spinnova and the rest is organic cotton. Now, hopefully, when the factory gets going, we can use it on more pieces and the percentage (of Spinnova fibre used) will be higher. It’s so great to see a factory opening in Finland so that we could get a fibre that is produced here quite locally — and I think our values really align.

Sofia Ilmonen and her Spinnova capsule captured inside the new factory.

Ever since graduating from Aalto University in 2021, Ilmonen has with what she describes as modular, transformable design. 

— The pieces are square patterned and the structure enables them to be attached to each other. I always say that they are almost like Lego blocks, which can be assembled and reassembled many times to different silhouettes. My main point, when thinking about sustainability, is garment longevity. So, when using the same blocks to create different silhouettes, will hopefully keep you interested in the garment and make them last longer. You can also buy them separately and be part of creating your own clothes, maybe moving more towards offering services rather than always new garments. You can send it back to the brand, or order it in the new season’s silhouette but with the same building blocks.

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