Lincoln Agritech has recently been awarded $8.3M from the New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Endeavour Fund for a five-year research programme aiming to develop novel cellulose fibres regenerated from New Zealand plant resources for textile use.
The research collaborators in the programme, led by Lincoln Agritech Ltd, include the Ferrier Research Institute, SCION and AgResearch. They will work in partnership with Ngāti Whare and Ngai Tūhoe to combine expertise in cellulose sourcing, cellulose chemistry, fibre spinning, textile performance and mātauranga Māori.
The aim is to deliver the programme by developing the basis for a new industry exporting a substantial volume of regenerated cellulose fibres derived from dedicated plantations. It is further intended to divert current streams of lower-value or waste cellulose material and foster the development of high-end textiles made by New Zealand designers with embedded mātauranga Māori.
The unique fibre wet spinning expertise at Lincoln Agritech has been developed through a partnership programme funded by Wool Industry Research Limited (WIRL) and MBIE, to develop new uses for crossbred wool. A partnership with the wool industry to commercialise the developed technology will continue through the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand (WRONZ). The outcome is intended to meet the growing market need for sustainable and environmentally superior fibres as alternatives to the current synthetic or pollutant textile fibre processes used currently.
The new MBIE programme is led by Dr Rob Kelly of Lincoln Agritech and will be guided by textile industry expert advisors, including Dr Garth Carnaby (CNZM), as well as domestic and international industry representatives.