Metsä Group and ANDRITZ Collaborate on Revolutionary Kuura Fiber Production

Metsä Group and ANDRITZ Collaborate on Revolutionary Kuura Fiber Production

(IN BRIEF) Metsä Group partners with ANDRITZ to conduct a pre-study for a groundbreaking commercial mill dedicated to producing Kuura textile fiber, a sustainable product derived from Finnish wood. This collaboration aims to develop innovative pulp pre-treatment methods, integrate textile fiber production into bioproduct mills efficiently, and automate Kuura fiber production. With sustainability at the forefront, the Kuura concept promises a high-value, fossil fuel-free product, positioning both companies at the forefront of eco-friendly textile innovation.

(PRESS RELEASE) GRAZ, 17-Apr-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — Metsä Group has entered into an extensive cooperation with international technology group ANDRITZ to conduct a pre-study for the first possible commercial mill producing the Kuura textile fiber.

This new type of textile fiber, developed by Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring, is made from Finnish wood.

The primary objectives of this collaboration are to develop a pulp pre-treatment method, smart ways to integrate textile fiber production into the various departments of a bioproduct mill, and automation for Kuura production.

The pre-study is the first planning stage for a potential commercial mill project to process softwood pulp into a new type of man-made cellulosic fiber (MMCF). The Kuura concept produces a sustainable, high value-added product without the use of fossil fuels.

The Kuura fiber and its production process are currently being developed in a demo plant at Metsä Group’s Äänekoski site in Finland. ANDRITZ supplied key process areas, including the fiberline, for the Äänekoski bioproduct mill, as well as some of the equipment for the demo plant.

“We’ve systematically developed the Kuura fiber to meet the growing demand for more sustainable textile fibers. The first Kuura mill would be constructed next to one of our modern bioproduct mills, which would allow us to use renewable energy generated at the neighboring mill and take advantage of several closed cycles. In addition, all pulp, the main raw material for Kuura fibers, would come from nearby certified Finnish forests,” says Metsä Spring CEO Niklas von Weymarn.

Kari Tuominen, President and CEO of ANDRITZ Oy, adds, “Sustainability is an essential part of our business strategy and corporate culture. ANDRITZ’s equipment and process portfolio are at the core of the cooperation with Metsä Group, which marks a significant step towards producing a new type of MMCF.”

The pre-study is expected to take one year to complete, after which the mill planning can proceed to a more detailed pre-engineering stage. Once operational, the mill is anticipated to produce approximately 100,000 tons of Kuura fiber per year and employ about 250 people.

International technology group ANDRITZ offers a broad portfolio of innovative plants, equipment, systems, services and digital solutions for a wide range of industries and end markets. Sustainability is an integral part of the company’s business strategy and corporate culture. With its extensive portfolio of sustainable products and solutions, ANDRITZ aims to make the greatest possible contribution to a sustainable future and help its customers achieve their sustainability goals. ANDRITZ is a global market leader in all four of its business areas – Pulp & Paper, Metals, Hydropower and Environment & Energy. Technological leadership and global presence are cornerstones of the group’s strategy, which is focused on long-term profitable growth. The publicly listed group has around 30,000 employees and over 280 locations in more than 80 countries.

ANDRITZ Pulp & Paper provides sustainable technology, automation, and service solutions for the production of all types of pulp, paper, board and tissue. The technologies and services focus on increased production efficiency, lower overall operating costs as well as innovative decarbonization strategies and autonomous plant operation.

The product portfolio also includes boilers for power generation, various nonwoven technologies, and panelboard (MDF) production systems. With waste-to-value recycling, shredding and energy solutions, waste and by-product streams from production are converted into valuable secondary raw materials as well as into sustainable resources for energy generation. State-of-the-art IIoT technologies as part of Metris digitalization solutions complete the comprehensive product offering.

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