Ready for the revolution of the textile industry?

People around the world consume over 23 million tons of cotton per year. The production of a single kilogram of cotton takes up to 20 000 liters of water. To top that, many other popular textiles, such as polyester and viscose, are made out of crude oil. We need a more sustainable way to produce textiles before the world runs out of natural resources.

That's why we, researchers from Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, have come up with Ioncell. It’s a technology that turns used textiles, pulp or even old newspapers and cardboard into new textile fibers without harmful chemicals. Through our process we convert cellulose into fibers which in turn can be made into long-lasting fabrics.

Ioncell in a nutshell

  • The Ioncell process uses a novel solvent called ionic liquid. It’s an environmentally friendly solvent that can be recycled and isn’t flammable like many others.
  • Ioncell fibers feel soft and are strong even when wet. They’re tenacious and work well in both clothing and technical applications.
  • The Ioncell process could revolutionize the recycling of textile waste. It enables waste textiles to get a new life as high-quality fibers.
Ioncell production path

What are the next steps?

Ioncell roadmap

Right now we are publicly funded, but in 2018 we will open a round for private investors. If everything goes according to plan, within a couple of years we hope to open a pilot plant, a small factory where textiles could be produced for customers to test. Later on we'll strive to open a semi-commercial plant where even more Ioncell fibers could be produced.

Our plans also include the launch of a national recycling program. By dropping your worn-out textiles into an Ioncell recycling bin you make sure that no natural resources go to waste. We'll turn your rags into high-class fibers.

Want to be the first one to know about our progress?

Let’s collaborate!

Ioncell is first and foremost a research project. That’s what excites us and makes us want to go to work every morning. On top of having a lot of scientific value Ioncell has immense amounts of commercial potential. We want to see Ioncell fulfill every ounce of its potential.

Investors!

Are you looking for a research-based idea that helps make fabric production more ethical? Ioncell can be used in clothing, technical fabrics, interiors, even cars. With us you can be a part of creating something completely new out of a renewable resource. With your help the first clothes made out of Ioncell fibers could be in stores in five years.

Designers!

We’re a multidisciplinary group and we welcome creative people to work with our fabrics. Ioncell fibers are tenacious, feel wonderful and are a pleasure to work with. We’ve already collaborated with Marimekko – would you like to be next?

Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you and come up with a game plan.

Jari Laine
Business inquiries
Aalto University
jari.laine@aalto.fi
+358 50 5677 226

Professor Herbert Sixta
Lead researcher
Aalto University
herbert.sixta@aalto.fi
+358 50 384 1764

See it for yourself

From Birch to Catwalk –
the Journey of Ioncell Fiber

Ioncell in the public eye

  • 2015: Winner of the Global Change Award, an innovation challenge by H&M Foundation
  • European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC) Paper Recycling Award 2015
  • Helsinki Challenge 2016–2017 semi-finalist

Recycling Technique That Makes Cotton-Polyester Into Stronger Fibers May Avoid Clothes Ending In Trash, The Science Times, 4.4.2017

An Eco-Friendly Fix for Fast Fashion, Nexus Media, 3.4.2017

This Chemistry Might Just Give Outdated Fast Fashion A New Life, Forbes, 3.4.2017

Vuoden 2016 tekstiilitaiteilija Pirjo Kääriäinen kehittää ympäristöystävällisiä materiaaleja, Helsingin Sanomat 18.3.2016. (in Finnish)

Jäähyväiset puuvillalle? Kokopuinen huivi on yllättävän pehmeä, Yle Uutiset 18.2.2016. (in Finnish)

Puuvilla käy vähiin – Suomalainen keksintö sai H&M:n palkinnon tekstiilikierrätyksen kehittämiseen, Suomen Kuvalehti 18.2.2016. (in Finnish)

Suomalaistiimin jätepuuvillainnovaatio nappasi voiton H&M-säätiön kisassa, Markkinointi&Mainonta 12.2.2016. (in Finnish)

Suomalainen puuvillan kierrätyksen mullistava menetelmä voitti ruotsalaisen ideakilpailun, Helsingin Sanomat 11.2.2016. (in Finnish)

Prinsessa Victoria ojensi 300 000 €:n palkinnon – Suomessa kehitetty puuvillankierrätysmenetelmä voitti H&M:n säätiön kilpailun 2700 ehdotuksen joukosta, Tekniikka&Talous 11.2.2016. (in Finnish)

Vaatejätti etsi kierrätysinnovaatioita: Suomalaisille 300 000 euron pääpalkinto, Aamulehti 11.2.2016. (in Finnish)

Pukeudumme pian puuhun – vallankumouksellinen ioninen liuotin muuttaa koivun, kuusen ja männyn kankaaksi, Helsingin Sanomat 22.12.2015. (in Finnish)

Aalto University

Core team from Aalto University

Herbert Sixta
Michael Hummel
Sanna Hellsten
Pirjo Kääriäinen
Jari Laine
Pekka Oinas
Esko Tirronen

Helsinki University

Core team from the University of Helsinki

Jussi K. J. Helminen
Ilkka Kilpelainen
Alistair King
Kari Sinivuori
Susanne Wiedmer

Ioncell