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PRACHINBURI – Wood-based speciality fibre business, Lenzing Group, has opened the world’s largest lyocell plant in Thailand. The Є400m plant, which has a capacity of100,000 tons per year, will meet growing demand from the fashion industry for Tencel-branded lyocell fibers.

The construction of the plant, located around 150km northeast of Bangkok, started in the second half of 2019 and proceeded largely according to plan, despite the challenges from pandemic.

Said Cord Prinzhorn, CEO of Lenzing Group: “We are very proud of this achievement. Our sincere thanks go to the entire Lenzing team and especially to our staff in Thailand but also to many external stakeholders, who joined forces in times of a global pandemic to make this key project reality. To deliver such a huge project in time and at budget is an outstanding achievement given the challenges of the global pandemic.”

Robert van de Kerkhof, member of the managing board, added: “The demand for our wood-based, biodegradable specialty fibres … is growing very well. In Asia in particular, we see huge growth potential for our brands based on sustainable innovation. With the production start of the lyocell plant in Thailand, Lenzing reached an important milestone in its growth journey, supporting our ambitious goal to make the textile and nonwoven industries more sustainable.”

The lyocell production process is the most modern method for producing fibres from wood. It has been successfully applied on an industrial scale for about 30 years.

The viscose and lyocell process differ as they use different technologies and chemicals to regenerate cellulose, with lyocell the only production method which excludes carbon disulphide.

The lyocell process operates in a ‘closed loop’, which means most of the water and solvent in the process are recycled for reuse. An organic solvent called N-Methylmorphine N-oxide (NMMO) is used as an alternative to carbon disulphide to dissolve wood pulp.

Lenzing said it will continue to expand its production capacity for lyocell fibres in line with its broader sustainability goals. The Thailand site offers space for several production lines. The investment in the first phase already includes general infrastructure that would benefit future expansion. However, Lenzing said it will continue to look for opportunities to expand lyocell production in other parts of the world.

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