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Innovation award “Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year 2024”

The participants of the conference have chosen the three winners!

The nominees:

The Straw Flexi-Dress: Design Meets Sustainability – DITF & VRETENA (DE)

The Flexi-Dress design was inspired by the natural golden colour and silky touch of HighPerCell® (HPC) filaments based on unbleached straw pulp. These cellulose filaments are produced using environmentally friendly spinning technology in a closed-loop production process. The design decisions focused on the emotional connection and attachment to the HPC material to create a local and circular fashion product. The Flexi-Dress is designed as a versatile knitted garment – from work to street – that can be worn as a dress, but can also be split into two pieces – used separately as a top and a straight skirt. The top can also be worn with the V-neck front or back. The HPC textile knit structure was considered important for comfort and emotional properties.

HONEXT® Board FR-B (B-s1, d0) – Flame-retardant Board made From Upcycled Fibre Waste From the Paper Industry – Honext Material (ES)

HONEXT® FR-B board (B-s1, d0) is a flame-retardant board made from 100 % upcycled industrial waste fibres from the paper industry. Thanks to innovations in biotechnology, paper sludge is upcycled – the previously “worthless” residue from paper making – to create a fully recyclable material, all without the use of resins. This lightweight and easy-to-handle board boasts high mechanical performance and stability, along with low thermal conductivity, making it perfect for various applications in all interior environments where fire safety is a priority. The material is non-toxic, with no added VOCs, ensuring safety for both people and the planet. A sustainable and healthy material for the built environment, it achieves Cradle-to-Cradle Certified GOLD, and Material Health CertificateTM Gold Level version 4.0 with a carbon-negative footprint. Additionally, it is verified in the Product Environmental Footprint.

LENZING™ Cellulosic Fibres for Glacier Protection – Lenzing (AT)

Glaciers are now facing an unprecedented threat from global warming. Synthetic fibre-based geotextiles, while effective in slowing down glacier melt, create a new environmental challenge: microplastics contaminating glacial environments. The use of such materials contradicts the very purpose of glacier protection, as it exacerbates an already critical environmental problem. Recognizing this problem, the innovative use of cellulosic LENZING fibres presents a pioneering solution. The Institute of Ecology, at the University of Innsbruck, together with Lenzing and other partners made first trials in 2022 by covering small test fields with LENZING fibre-based geotextiles. The results were promising, confirming the effectiveness of this approach in slowing glacier melt without leaving behind microplastic.

The RENU Jacket – Advanced Recycling for Cellulosic Textiles – Pangaia (UK) & Evrnu (US)

PANGAIA LAB was born out of a dream to reduce barriers between people and the breakthrough innovations in material science. In 2023, PANGAIA LAB launched the RENU Jacket, a limited edition product made from 100% Nucycl® – a technology that recycles cellulosic textiles by breaking them down to their molecular building blocks, and reforming them into new fibres. This process produces a result that is 100% recycled and 100% recyclable when returned to the correct waste stream – maintaining the strength of the fibre so it doesn’t need to be blended with virgin material.

Through collaboration with Evrnu, the PANGAIA team created the world’s first 100% chemically recycled denim jacket, replacing a material traditionally made from 100% virgin cotton. By incorporating Nucycl® into this iconic fabric construction, dyed with natural indigo, the teams have demonstrated that it’s possible to replace ubiquitous materials with this innovation.

Textiles Made from Easy-to-dye Biocelsol – VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (FI)

One third of the textile industry’s wastewater is generated in dyeing and one fifth in finishing. But the use of chemically modified Biocelsol fibres reduces waste water. The knitted fabric is made from viscose and Biocelsol fibres and is only dyed after knitting. This gives the Biocelsol fibres a darker shade, using the same amount of dye and no salt in dyeing process. In addition, an interesting visual effect can be achieved. Moreover, less dye is needed for the darker colour tone in the finished textile and the possibility to use the salt-free dyeing is more environmentally friendly.

These special properties of man-made cellulosic fibres will reassert the fibres as a replacement for the existing fossil-based fibres, thus filling the demand for more environmentally friendly dyeing-solutions in the textile industry. The functionalised Biocelsol fibres were made in Finnish Academy FinnCERES project and are produced by wet spinning technique from the cellulose dope containing low amounts of 3-allyloxy-2-hydroxypropyl substituents. The functionality formed is permanent and has been shown to significantly improve the dyeability of the fibres. In addition, the functionalisation of Biocelsol fibres reduces the cost of textile finishing and dyeing as well as the effluent load.

A New Generation of Bio-based and Resource-efficient Fibre – TreeToTextile (SE)

TreeToTextile has developed a unique, sustainable and resource efficient fibre that doesn’t exist on the market today. It has a natural dry feel similar to cotton and a semi-dull sheen and high drape like viscose. It is based on cellulose and has the potential to complement or replace cotton, viscose and polyester as a single fibre or in blends, depending on the application.

TreeToTextile Technology has a low demand for chemicals, energy and water. According to a third party verified LCA, the TreeToTextile fibre has a climate impact of 0.6 kg CO2 eq/kilo fibre. The fibre is made from bio-based and traceable resources and is biodegradable.


First stage: until 15 December 2023

Producers and inventors of innovative technologies and applications are invited to hand in a completed application form (submission form is closed, deadline was 15 December) and a leaflet or a two-page PDF about the product in English. Please provide us with at least two images in print quality (300 dpi) that we may use for promotional purposes (e.g. on the website, in press communications, in the conference journal or in mailings). Please be sure to include metadata for each image. Metadata must include at least:
Short description, copyright holder, owner of the rights of use and licence note.
The documents should explain the particular aspects of the innovation and when it was launched on the market. It is also necessary to submit a sample of the product (or a small material sample if the product is too unhandy).

Delivery address and email contact: nova-Institut GmbH, Asta Partanen, Leyboldstr. 16 / 2. OG, 50354 Huerth, Germany
Closing date for products or material samples: 15 February 2024

Second stage: Mid of January 2024

A jury consisting of representatives of the nova-Institute, the advisory board and sponsors of the conference will nominate the outstanding “Top 6” applicants prior to the conference.
After the jury has selected the “Top 6” candidates among the applicants, their application documents will be made available for download at the conference website to provide our audience and other interested parties a first glimpse of these innovations.

Third stage: At the conference (13 March 2024)

In a short 10-minute presentation, each of the six companies will introduce their innovation on the first day of the conference (13 March 2024). The Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year 2024 Award will be voted for by conference delegates as well as online participants on the afternoon of 13 March at 18:00 (CET). Afterwards, the announcement of the winner will take place. The evening gala dinner at the conference venue offers excellent networking opportunities.
In addition, the “Top 6” will present their innovations in a shared exhibition space provided by the nova-Institute during the whole of the conference. Furthermore, there is the option to book your own exhibition space.

All winners and their innovations will be highlighted in the subsequent media coverage. Each “Top 6” candidate will get one free 2-day ticket and further tickets at a discount rate.

Download: Overview of the past innovation award winners (PDF).