LIST Technology AG, Berstelstrasse 23, 4422 Arisdorf Switzerland

Lyocell

The EMPEROR’s new CLOTHES? – No!

Lyocell – a quiet but real revolution in the textile industry

The movement that started at Tesla in the automotive industry over ten years ago is now catching on in the textile industry. Growing public awareness of sustainability is being reflected in consumers’ decisions and is becoming part of a new lifestyle. Government regulations are following the path shown by NGO certificates and a whole raft of interconnected trends is driving the industry forward. While politicians are still discussing solutions, the industry has been focused on implementing new trends for a while.

In the textile industry, polyester and viscose are the equivalents of diesel and combustion engines in the automotive industry. Polyester, viscose and also cotton – which is extremely water-intensive – will soon be replaced by new sustainable fibers, like Lyocell, which is this industry’s equivalent of electric cars.

Lyocell has already proven itself in the industry and the textile sector can handle this material. What’s more, Lyocell has not yet reached its full technological potential. The attention given to Lyocell, in particular, by the entire industry and new players, is creating an equivalent to “e-mobility” in the textile industry and is producing many innovations, some of which will change the sector while others will disappear.

A variety of cellulose pulps have been undergoing tests for a long time now with respect to their suitability as a raw material for producing cellulose-based fibers. This has included cellulose pulps made from various renewable raw materials, from sustainable synthetic biotechnological production, from recycled textiles, and from “never-dried pulp” (i.e. from a cellulose pulp taken directly ex-works without intermediate drying). Moreover, this testing extended to alternative dissolving methods, such as using ionic liquids (IL), cold caustic soda and phosphoric acid.

China’s decision to incorporate sustainability into the production of cellulose fibers in its Five-Year Plan in 2016 gave fresh impetus to Lyocfibers and brought new driving forces onto the scene, which provided start-ups with the necessary capital to establish pilot factories.

All of these developments point to an ongoing silent revolution in the textile industry and fully justify comparisons made with the transformation in the automotive industry.

The next challenge we face relates to Lyocell filaments. Filaments are fine, extracted in a closed loop system and imitate silk. This contrasts with fibers (or to be more precise, staple fibers) which are cut short, not as fine and replicate cotton fibers. The methods previously used for producing Lyocell seem to have reached their technological limits for use as filaments. It does not appear possible to simply apply the Lyocell technology for producing cost-sensitive Lyocell staple fibers, which has been designed for efficiency, to the production of Lyocell filaments. However, this is an issue which is ideal for the LIST Lyocell method.

 

Center of Expertise for cellulose spinning solution methods

LIST has specialized in the production of spinning solutions for over 20 years.
For cellulose slurries with a surplus of water, LIST uses its own, proprietary special approach called the LIST Combo method, which is based on KneaderReactors.

If you would like to find out more, request Lyocell documentation or contact us by phone.

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