Innovative biotechnology company Nanollose (ASX: NC6) has unveiled a ground-breaking eco-friendly fabric made from the “world’s first” plant-free viscose-rayon fibre.
The Perth-based company today announced it had successfully increased its production of the fibre to pilot scale, which has allowed it to create the fabric for the first time.
The fibre, which has been branded as Nullarbor, is derived using microbes that convert biomass waste products from beer, wine and liquid food industries into microbial cellulose. This microbial cellulose has been sourced from the company’s Indonesian supply chain partner.
According to Nanollose, the manufacturing process requires very little land, water or energy consumption unlike conventional rayon, which is sourced from wood and involves a wood pulping process.
It is also produced using standard industrial textile processing and manufacturing equipment, meaning no retro-fitting would be required for future partners.
“This advance is another step in proofing and proving that our technology works along with hitting our company goal of successfully producing actual physical product in an industrial setting,” Nanollose managing director Alfie Germano said.
“We are excited to tick a few validation boxes and bring commercialisation closer,” he added.
Nanollose’s concept of “fermented fashion” originated in 2006 when founder Gary Cass, an agricultural scientist and winemaker, made a faulty batch of wine which fermented to result in a leather-like material when dried out.
Cass then received a A$10,000 grant to collaborate with a fashion designer to make the world’s first dress out of fermented red wine and embarked on a world tour.
The company Nanollose was formed in 2014 and debuted its “beer dress” the next year at an expo in Milan, Italy.
Nullarbor is being showcased this week at the Planet Textile Summit in Vancouver, Canada.
According to Nanollose, the event will be a good opportunity for the company to engage with international fashion retailers, brands, manufacturers and designers, “many of which currently use rayon across their textile and clothing products and are searching for sustainable solutions”.
According to Nanollose, the apparel industry is the second largest consumer and polluter of natural resources on the planet, with 5% of all landfill space consumed by textile waste.
In addition, the viscose-rayon fibre market has been forecast to reach US$16 billion by 2019, with the vast majority used to make textiles and clothing.
Nanollose shares were sitting up 17% at A$0.17 by afternoon trade on Wednesday.
The company debuted on the ASX in October last year with its stock soaring to a high of A$0.38. After this early peak, the share price steadily slid to the A$0.13 mark by February but has seen a 50% increase over the last three months.