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Re:newcell is changing the fashion industry

It started with a new method for dissolving cellulose. Now Re:newcell is the only company in the world that can recycle clothes on a large scale.

white t-shirt against brick wall

It all started when a group of KTH researchers discovered a new way to dissolve cellulose. When they first contacted KTH Innovation they thought the technology would be used to manufacture ethanol with raw materials from the forest, but the development took a turn when they realised tjhat the process could be used to break down and recycle clothes.

Today less than 1% of all manufactured textiles are recycled, and the textile industry has a huge impact on the environment and climate. It took over 10 years to get from the lab to the market, but the potential of this technology is huge.

Professor Gunnar Henriksson and I discovered from our research the possibility to increase the reactivity of cellulose. Our contact with KTH Innovation resulted in a dialogue to find out if this was technically interesting. We looked at many different areas of application such as second generation ethanol manufacturing and various products fom cellulose. A call from an external source about the possibility of chemically recycling cotton (100% cellulose) led to us applying our knowledge, and the technology that we had developed in dialogue with KTH Innovation, to textile and that became the start of renewcell in 2012. The support from KTH Innovation was incredibly important at that early stage when we had to find a suitable market, technological solution and IPR protection.

- Mikael Lindström, KTH professor and founder of re:newcell

Page responsible:innovation@kth.se
Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Sep 17, 2020