With cotton being one of the top polluting industries, a world first Australian technology could contribute a positive change in the global $500 billion textile and fashion markets.
Australian company Nanollose Ltd has raised $5,000,000 from investors, with ambitions to commercialise its sustainable fibre technology after an IPO on the Australian Securities Exchange expected for October 18.
Nanollose CEO Alfie Germano says this marks an exciting time for the company, with its world first Plant-Free Cellulose fibre set to potentially become a sustainable alternative to commonly used but environmentally damaging fibres such as cotton.
“Today, we use plants and trees for fibres to make clothes and textiles, with manufactures having limited alterative eco-friendly options available to them,” Germano said.
“We don’t have to cut down tress and plants to create our Plant-Free Celluolse fibre, and it can be used in the same way as other fibres to make clothing and textiles but with a dramatically reduced environmental footprint.”
Cellulose is the building block raw material found in items people use on a daily basis such as paper, clothing and hygiene products.
Currently, cellulose is obtained from plant sources like cotton, wood and bamboo, with the supply chains and procurement ecosystems of these industries raising ever-growing environmental concerns.
“The current procurement of fibres to make textiles and clothing is highly resource intensive," Germano said.
“I applaud the cotton industry's efforts and improvements, however the challenges around cotton still remain as it requires large amounts of water, vast acres of land and uses a significant amount of insecticide.”
By contrast, Nanollose’s Plant-Free Cellulose fibre is created using microbes that convert biomass waste products from the beer, wine and liquid food industries into cellulose, in a process that requires very little land, water or energy.
A production cycle is just 18 days, compared to the eight months seen in the cotton industry.
“We are the only company we know of looking to produce Plant-Free Cellulose fibres, and I truly believe that Nanollose success will be a success for the global textile industry,” Germano said.
Funds to accelerate development and build partnerships
Germano said the funds will be used to accelerate the development of the company’s fibre technologies and build production supply chains with key partners, who will license and grow the fibre.
“The funds will accelerate our development and get us to a point where we could offer our fibre as a sustainable alternative to that of fibres derived from cotton and wood.”
Germano – who has held multiple VP positions at some of the largest global apparel brands including Gap – says his vast experience in supply chains has led to the decision to let potential partners do the heavy lifting.
“We are a technology company, not a production company, and the funds we are raising will go towards creating an end-to-end supply chain with key partners,” he said.
“The goal is to then feed our sustainable alternative into the global industries with little to no retrofitting to existing machinery or processes.”
Germano’s first target is the $500 billion global textile industry, and says there is increasing urgency from brands, retailers and manufacturers to seek and cultivate alternative fibre resources.
“Progressive brands and companies are starting to facilitate this new shift by involving themselves deeper in the supply chain and searching for feasible, sustainable long-term alternatives, and we want to be part of the solution,” Germano said.