Nanollose has completed its second pilot spin of its sustainable Nullarbor lyocell fibre, successfully increasing the microbial cellulose content.

Australia-based biomaterial technology company Nanollose (ASX:NC6) has completed a milestone second pilot production of its forest-friendly Nullarbor cellulose fibres with R&D partner Birla Cellulose.

The second pilot run has successfully achieved its target objective to increase the microbial cellulose content, producing the first batch of Nullarbor-30.

The spin produced ~150kg of Nullarbor-30, consisting of 30% microbial cellulose and 70% FSC certified wood pulp, in addition to ~90kg of Nullarbor-20.

A third pilot spin is scheduled this quarter, with fibre from the second spin to be converted to fabrics and garments with selected partners.

Completion of the second pilot run follows a recent extension of a research collaboration agreement with Birla Cellulose –  a business  unit  of  Grasim  Industries,  a division  of  multinational Indian conglomerate  Aditya Birla Group – a collaboration that first began in January 2020.

Stronger than conventional lyocell

NC6 and Birla Cellulose have had several early research breakthroughs enabling them to develop the lyocell fibre from microbial cellulose, which they called Nullabor.

Their tree-free form of cellulose is made by a natural fermentation process on a range of wastes and by-products from the food and agricultural industries.

Nullarbor is significantly stronger than conventional lyocell made from wood pulp, and could also be spun into a fibre finer than silk.

Moreover, even when blended with wood pulp, the microbial cellulose conferred increased strength to the resulting fibre, providing an important technical advantage to the trademarked Nullarbor, over and above its environmental benefits.

Latest spin split in two

The latest production was split into two fibre spins to produce the company’s second batch of Nullarbor-20 and its first batch of Nullarbor-30.

NC6 said production of Nullarbor-30 at the higher microbial cellulose content is a significant outcome for this second pilot spin, and bodes well for its strategy of developing a range of Nullarbor eco-friendly fibres for different markets.

In the coming months, NC6 will also work with its network of partners in the global fashion and textile sectors to convert the fibres from this second spin into a range of fabrics and garments.

Samples of fabrics made from the first pilot spin have been sent to several fashion brands for appraisal, with unanimously positive feedback. 

Plans for next pilot spin

 The third pilot spin is scheduled to take place this quarter, and will target expanded production volumes for Nullarbor-20 and/orNullarbor-30, guided by further feedback and discussions with fashion brands and manufacturing partners.

NC6 executive chairman Dr Wayne Best said results from the second pilot spin with Birla Cellulose continue to advance the understanding and development of Nullarbor fibre technology.

“The key objective of the second pilot run –to increase the microbial cellulose content–was achieved and provides us with significant momentum for the next pilot production run,” he said.

“With these results now under our belt, we look forward to working with our network of leading fashion brands and manufacturing partners to advance the commercialisation of our innovative and eco-friendly Nullarbor fibres and fabrics.”

This article was developed in collaboration with Nanollose, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.