Nanollose Ltd (ASX:NC6) looks forward to an exciting quarter ahead as it moves forward with the commercialisation of its tree-free lyocell to create fibres and fabrics with minimal environmental impact.
The company is also working towards shortlisting potential offtake partners and hopes to formalise a number of agreements in the current quarter.
The first shipment of microbial cellulose (MC) was received by Birla Cellulose in India, with further processing and testing continuing prior to it being blended with other cellulosic feedstock and spun into lyocell fibre at pilot scale.
With lyocell progressing through the development stage, the company is seeking to add to its product pipeline by reactivating several opportunities for alternate applications of MC, including vegan leathers.
Nanollose executive chairman Wayne Best said: “The June 2021 quarter marked a significant milestone for the company as we dispatched the first shipment of refined MC to Birla Cellulose, initiating the pilot production phase of commercialisation.
"The material is currently undergoing further processing and testing at Birla’s pilot facilities, in preparation for the first pilot production (spin) of nullarbor fibre."
In the June quarter, Nanollose's focus has been to ensure success in the laboratory is replicated at pilot scale.
Fashion and textile industries
Best added: “The pilot spin will also produce fibre to generate samples for potential partners in the fashion and textiles industries, and the company has been working closely with its fashion consultant, Carla Woidt, to produce a shortlisted group that meet Nanollose’s criteria for potential offtake partners.”
With Nanollose’s tree-free lyocell now advancing through the development phase towards commercialisation, the company has appointed Boon Tan as operations & quality manager.
Nanollose has also recently appointed a research scientist to explore other exciting opportunities and applications of MC, including vegan leathers, which are gaining significant traction in the market.
The company said vegan and synthetic leathers present a significant opportunity, with research showing that the market for vegan leather will grow at a CGAR of 49.9% from 2019-2025, worth US$89.6 billion by 2025.
“Having progressed our work with Birla, and increased our internal resources, we look forward to an exciting quarter ahead,” Best said.
CelluAir has continued to advance the first scope of research, with five different forms of materials tested, with further testing continuing on two materials that have demonstrated high potential.
CelluAir is also investigating the possibility of using Nanollose’s MC as a replacement for plant-based nanocellulose, and this testing will provide valuable information in relation to suitability for the application to CelluAir’s advanced filtration technology (AFT).
During the quarter, CelluAir held meetings with a range of interested parties including multinational cosmetic and skincare companies, face mask manufacturers and health companies, with discussion continuing.
Potential prototype and early applications for various markets are currently being explored and business development is being undertaken with the aim of seeking potential partners.
Strengthened balance sheet
During the quarter, the company completed an oversubscribed placement to institutional and sophisticated investors raising $2.95 million.
The placement has further strengthened the company’s balance sheet, placing Nanollose in a strong position to further advance the development and commercialisation of its nullarbor™ lyocell fibre.
Nanollose is also part of a successful consortium that has attracted $5 million in funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC).
The Industrial Transformational Research Hub for Functional and Sustainable Fibres will provide the company with access to world-leading materials science and fibre & textile expertise, with leveraged research and development funding.
It will also provide Nanollose with the opportunity to initiate projects and develop valuable Intellectual Property in the fibre and textile sector from raw materials through to fibre processing, textile treatments and end-of-life handling, with a focus on shifting the industry towards a more sustainable future.
Commercialisation of next-generation lyocell
The company listed its 2021 objectives, which encompasses the commercialisation of the next-generation lyocell.
The key milestones that it aims to achieve during the remainder of the 2021 calendar year include:
- Production of tonne quantities of MC, which will be shipped to Birla Cellulose’s pilot facility, to further optimise production processes;
- Advance pilot stage testing of the recently patented, next-generation, tree-free lyocell, following the delivery of larger tonne quantities of MC to Grasim;
- Produce the first amounts of fibre for commercial offerings with varying blends during the commercialisation stage;
- Commence product trials with leading global brands in the fashion and apparel industry; and
- Commence product trials in non-woven sector as it seeks to commercialise nufoliumTM for nonwoven fibre applications, including personal wipes, which is a high growth market.