According to Fritz Fröhlich, a board member of Akzo Nobel, the location of the plant will depend on final government support. An investment decision will be made by the Akzo Nobel and Courtaulds boards later this year.
The firms decided to proceed with the study following progress in the process development at Akzo Nobel's Obernburg pilot plant in Germany. Akzo Nobel has been producing 100 tonne/year of lyocell filament yarns, called NewCell, at the unit. Courtaulds provided process and product know-how from Tencel, its lyocell staple fibre.
Market test programmes conducted over the past two years have been positive. The Japanese market was studied with Asahi.
Courtaulds produces Tencel lyocell staple fibre in two plants with a combined capacity of 55 000 tonne/year in Alabama, US. It is now building a £120m ($180m) 42 000 tonne/year facility in Grimsby, UK, due onstream in early 1998.