A major update on the Tencel business by Alex Scott of International Chemical Business magazine based mainly on an interview with David Wilkinson:
Industry experts have been backing lyocell, a high performance cellulose fibre, in increasing numbers since its emergence from the Courtaulds pilot plant in the UK in 1988. But are they justified in tagging it as the fibre of the future? Alex Scott reports on the latest twists in the emergence of lyocell.
'These are Next jeans - they are a 40:60 mix with cotton. Oh, and this is Versace,' says my guide peeling a brilliant orange blouse from its hanger. The white tiles and soft lighting belie a chic clothes boutique - but really I am being treated to a view of the future of the cellulosic fibre, Tencel, at Courtaulds' London headquarters.
'It is very comfortable, and strong, and attractive, and is certainly superior to viscose rayon,' says David Wilkinson, an executive director at Courtaulds, responsible for the company's fibres business.
With demand increasing it is apparent that Wilkinson is not the only one to be impressed: 'Tencel has substantial advantages over viscose, which is a 1.7m tonne/year market... the potential of Tencel is considerable,' says one UK analyst.