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Re:newcell selects Valmet as key supplier for Sundsvall textile recycling plant

Swedish recycler of cellulosic textile waste, Re:newcell AB has announced that it has signed a contract with Finland-headed energy and forest industry technology major Valmet Oyj as the main technology supplier for its planned 60 000 tonne-per-annum capacity textile recycling plant at SCA's Ortviken industrial site in Sundsvall, Sweden. The selection marks a major milestone in the establishment of the first commercial-scale textile recycling plant of its kind in the world.

Swedish recycler of cellulosic textile waste, Re:newcell AB has signed a contract with Finland-headed energy and forest industry technology major Valmet Oyj as the main technology supplier for its planned 60 000 tonne-per-annum capacity textile recycling plant at SCA’s Ortviken industrial site in Sundsvall, Sweden. According to Patrick Lundström, CEO of Re:newcell, the selection marks a major milestone in the establishment of the first commercial-scale textile recycling plant of its kind in the world (photo courtesy Alexander Donka).

In August 2020, forest industry major SCA announced its intention to invest SEK 1.45 billion (≈EUR 140.58 million) in the production of chemically pre-treated thermo-mechanical pulp (CTMP) at its Ortviken paper mill in Sundsvall while at the same time, discontinue publication paper manufacturing at the site.

Already in October 2020, Re:newcell revealed that it had decided on Ortviken for its planned industrial-scale Circulose plant and financing for the plant was secured in December 2020. In addition, both significant feedstock supply – in the form of pre-and post-consumer textiles – and Circulose supply agreements have been secured financing for the project.

First industrial scale textile-to-pulp plant delivery

The selection of Valmet marks a major milestone in the establishment of the first commercial-scale textile recycling plant of its kind in the world. According to Re:newcell, the contract, worth SEK 232 million (≈ EUR 22.9 million), covers around 40 percent of the value of the equipment to be installed.

We have gone through a rigorous selection process and are confident that Valmet is the best possible long-term partner to Renewcell on our mission to change the global fashion industry. With a trusted supplier like Valmet providing the core equipment, we reduce project risk and gain a committed partner with industry-leading expertise. We look forward to working closely with Valmet to put together a top-of-the-line textile recycling plant concept that is ready to be rolled out not just at Ortviken but worldwide, said Patrik Lundström, CEO of Re:newcell.

Through its patented process, Re:newcell is able to upcycle cellulosic textile waste, such as cotton and viscose clothes, transforming it into a dissolving pulp product branded as Circulose, produced from 100 percent recycled textiles.

By replacing virgin textile fibers like cotton with fibers produced from Circulose, fashion brands can reduce the climate and environmental impact caused by raw material extraction and fashion waste generation significantly. We have been recognized for our work to make fashion more sustainable. Most recently, Circulose was included as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions 2020, remarked Patrik Lundström.

In 2018 Renewcell opened a demonstration plant in Kristinehamn, Sweden, which can produce up to 4 500 tonnes of Circulose per annum. The new Ortviken plant will have a capacity of 60 000 tonnes per annum with a possibility to increase the capacity in the future.

Draw on local presence and expertise

Re:newcell’s technology has been specifically designed to run on proven equipment in order to ensure scalability and industry-leading OEE. The contract with Valmet covers machine equipment installation, commissioning, and ongoing technical support.

Re:newcell is transforming cotton and viscose into a dissolving pulp product branded as Circulose, produced from 100 percent recycled textiles such as jeans (photo courtesy Alexander Donka).

Valmet will supply process equipment for, stock preparation, bleaching, and drying commonly used in large-scale state-of-the-art dissolving pulp plants throughout the world and tailored for this project. Valmet’s delivery includes machine equipment installation, commissioning, and technical support.

Sustainable textile recycling is well aligned with Valmet’s mission of converting renewable resources into sustainable results. I’m very proud that Re:newcell selected Valmet as the key supplier for this groundbreaking plant. Our teams have been working well together in developing these solutions and I’m delighted to see this outcome. This will be an important project and a key reference within this new business area, and we look forward to continued cooperation with Re:newcell, said Bertel Karlstedt, President, Pulp and Energy business line, Valmet.

A significant share of the equipment to be installed will be designed and produced locally from Valmet’s Sundsvall branch, located in close proximity to the Ortviken site as well as from Tampere and Jyväskylä, Finland. The pulp drying and baling part is second-hand equipment originally delivered by Valmet to another customer and now being dismantled in France and shipped to Sweden.

This project is an excellent example of how we can utilize Valmet’s wide expertise in bio, pulp, and paper technology in textile recycling. In a project like this Valmet is not only a technology provider, but this is a joint journey. During the past year, we have worked together to finetune the technology for textile recycling. We have utilized Valmet’s pilot machines at our Swedish and Finnish R&D centers to do test runs in turning recycled textile raw material into dissolving pulp sheets, explained Rickard Andersson, VP for Fiber Processing business unit at Valmet.

Re:newcell’s new Ortviken plant is scheduled to begin operations in the first half of 2022.

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