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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Pineapple leaf fiber production facility launched in Vietnam

Nextevo, a material science startup, opened its first production facility in Dong Nai province in Vietnam that aims to transform pineapple leaf fiber (PALF), an agricultural by-product, into ready-to-spin (RTS) fiber.

Pineapple leaf fiber (PALF) is a natural fiber extracted from the leaves of the pineapple plant (Ananas comosus). It has gained attention in recent years due to its eco-friendly properties and potential applications in various industries.

Pineapple leaves are harvested after the fruit is collected, making use of agricultural waste. The leaves are decorticated, meaning they are processed to remove the outer layer and extract the fibers. The extracted fibers are cleaned to remove any residual plant material and impurities. The clean fibers are then dried to reduce moisture content.

PALF is known for its high tensile strength, making it suitable for various applications. The fibers are lightweight, adding minimal weight to end products. As a natural fiber, PALF is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. The fibers have a natural sheen, which can enhance the aesthetic appeal of PALF can be used to produce fabrics for clothing, home textiles, and accessories. It is often blended with other natural or synthetic fibers to improve texture and durability. The fiber is used as reinforcement in composite materials for automotive parts, construction materials, and packaging. Utilizing agricultural waste helps reduce environmental impact and promotes sustainable practices.

PALF is relatively inexpensive to produce compared to synthetic fibers. The extraction and processing of PALF can be labor-intensive and require specialized equipment.

Recent advancements include the development of new extraction techniques to improve fiber quality and efficiency, as well as the creation of novel composite materials and textiles incorporating PALF.

Agricultural, forestry, and land use sectors make up approximately 21 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while the apparel industry alone accounts for a further 10 percent of global carbon emissions. Traditional methods of discarding agricultural waste like pineapple residues, whether through burning or natural decay, lead to the release of harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

Choosing Vietnam, the world’s third-largest textile exporter, as the location for their initial facility offers Nextevo several strategic benefits. Close to major seaports, Ho Chi Minh City, and key textile manufacturers, the site in Dong Nai allows efficient supply chain management and reduces the need for extensive inland transportation, thereby minimizing emissions. The company sources its pineapple leaf fiber from nations including the Philippines, Indonesia, and East Africa, and plans to add India and Vietnam to its supply chain in the future. This diversification provides a buffer against climate risks and ensures a steady raw material supply.

Nextevo’s broader vision involves creating a network that links suppliers, retailers, and customers to foster sustainable natural fiber growth in Vietnam, whilst also improving farmers’ livelihoods in the Philippines, Indonesia, and East Africa. With a strong emphasis on sustainability, the company has set a goal to halve its carbon footprint by 2028 and hopes to integrate other sustainable natural natural fibers into its product range.

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