Making sustainable textile fibres available to all

AFRY project partner to TreeToTextile in sustainable textile fibre demo plant project

TreeToTextile will produce bio-based textile fibres with new sustainable technology that they have developed. AFRY continued a long partnership as the main engineering and project partner in the new demonstration plant in Nymölla, Sweden.

Driven by the growing demand for clothes and textiles, global textile fibre production has doubled in the last 20 years and reached 109 million tons in 2020. This trend is expected to continue, and a further 34% increase is expected by 2030. At the same time, the textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. There is an obvious and urgent need to transform this growing industry sector into a more sustainable direction. Man-made cellulosic fibres (MMCF) are considered one of the environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives to move the textile sector towards a more sustainable industry.

Fibres in jars
Source: TreeToTextile

TreeToTextile is offering a new technology to produce bio-based textile fibres with a low environmental footprint and aims to make sustainable textile fibres available to all. The new fibre is a regenerated cellulosic fibre, produced from renewable and sustainably sourced raw materials from forests. TreeToTextile, owned by H&M Group, Inter IKEA Group, Stora Enso, and LSCS Invest, invested €35 million in developing and constructing a new demonstration plant in Nymölla, Sweden. This investment is an important step before the scale-up and commercialisation of this technology.

AFRY a main engineering and project partner in sustainable textile fibre development

AFRY has been the leading consultant and engineering partner to TreeToTextile from its early stages of project development in 2016, continuing to demonstration plant implementation engineering from 2020-2022.

In the project development phase, AFRY’s assignment included several pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, process design, up-scaling evaluations, and supplier pilot runs planning. The pre-feasibility and feasibility studies included investment and operational cost estimates and optimization for both the demonstration-sized and full-sized production plants. These studies were a base for TreeToTextile’s business case development.

In 2020, TreeToTextile was ready to start the engineering for its demonstration plant in Nymölla, Sweden and an investment decision followed in 2021. AFRY was again chosen as the main partner by TreeToTextile. In the demonstration plant implementation phase, AFRY was responsible for the engineering, project management and site services, also providing many additional services like permitting and procurement support as well as machine and IT solutions, including:

  • Project Management
  • Procurement support
  • Process design
  • Plant design, including layout, mechanical and piping, electrical, automation and instrumentation
  • Civil design
  • Automation, including hardware
  • Design and supply of special machines for material handling
  • Manufacturing execution IT system (MES), including warehouse management and traceability
  • Construction management
  • Commissioning
  • Start-up support
  • HSE management on site
  • Environmental and building permitting support
Clothes in a rack

Towards start-up and further process optimisation

The commissioning of the demo plant started in summer 2022, and the project was handed over to TreeToTextile for start-up and further optimisation of the process.

As is usual in projects, many challenges were overcome to ensure that this project was kept on schedule. As the engineering and building of the demonstration plant began in parallel with the process development, suppliers were required to adapt their machinery to the new operating conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic also caused further challenges, such as longer lead times and restrictions on regular site visits and meetings on the demonstration site.

Together with AFRY, we have overcome the challenges through close collaboration, flexibility, broad competence and most important of all, mutual commitment. AFRY and TreeToTextile have a long-lasting, mutually developing relationship that we hope to continue

Olli Ylä-Jarkko, Chief Technology Officer at TreeToTextile

I’m proud of the project team’s achievements, the co-operation with TreeToTextile and that the project has reached its targets. We wish TreeToTextile and Henric Höglund, the Plant Manager, and his team all the luck with plant operations and we look forward to future cooperation.

Christoffer Persson, Project Manager at AFRY

Stora Enso's Nymolla site
Source: Stora Enso

Project facts

Project: Bio-based textile fibre demonstration plant

Client name: TreeToTextile

Project location: Nymölla, Sweden

Project duration: 2020-2022

AFRY Scope of Services delivered: pre-feasibility, and feasibility studies, process design, up-scaling evaluations, supplier pilot runs planning, investment and operational cost estimates, optimisation for plants, engineering, project management site services, permitting and procurement, machine and IT solutions