Infinited Fiber said the facility is expected to operate at full capacity in 2025, employing roughly 250 people and another 50 in on-site support functions such as maintenance, logistics and services. The construction and installation phase is estimated to create 120 person-years of jobs while another 800 jobs will be created as an indirect consequence of the investment.
Petri Alava, CEO of Infinited Fiber, commented to Helsingin Sanomat that Kemi provides access to a lot of skilled staff with experience in the process industries. We will also train employees for textile fibre production. We talked about this with the city of Kemi. The facility is to have an annual production capacity of 30,000 tons of Infinna, the regenerated textile fibre developed by Infinited Fiber. The amount is enough to make about 100 million T-shirts, according to the company.
The material is different from recycled textile fibres in that the cellulose fibres are broken down to the molecular level before an entirely new fibre is created.
Alava explained to Helsinign Sanomat that the process starts by shredding and mechanically breaking down the textile waste used as the raw material. The textile shred is then chemically processed into cellulose flock, the nitrogen in which is bound with urea.
It makes the material soft and cotton-like. He said that the ready fibre contains some nitrogen.
The resultant cellulose carbamate is dissolved into liquid cellulose, which is wet-spun into Infinna.
The production process has been fine tuned at two pilot facilities in Valkeakoski and Espoo. Alava said that it was important that the pilot facilities were able to supply high-quality fibre to allow clients to make test collections.
Inditex, the owner of fashion giant Zara, revealed last month that it has signed an over 100 million-euro agreement to purchase a share of the commercial-scale facility's output. Purchase agreements have also been signed by the likes of Patagonia, H&M Group and Bestseller.
Alava said that about 60 per cent of the facility's output has already been sold under binding agreements. There are dozens if not hundreds of buyers lined up.