Carbon fibres are traditionally manufactured from fossile and non-renewable raw-materials. A research group at the Aalto University has developed a technology called Ioncell-F to fabricate textile fibres, as well as carbon fibres out of wood.
Carbon fibre is light and strong. It is used, for instance, in sport equipment, cars, masts of yachts, aeroplanes and spaceships. It also is suitable to reinforce plastics.
High production costs have limited the extension of the use of carbon fibres. Efforts have been made to manufacture carbon fibres from wood previously as well, but the new technology seems to bring about better results in a more ecological way and with lower costs.
In the Ioncell-F method the biomass is first dissolved and the solution is pressed through a nozzle to form thin, continuous fibres. The fibres are then slowly heated up in a stove up to 1,500 °C. The residue consists of pure carbon with an extremely strong chemical structure.
The European Research Council has granted Mr. Michael Hummel, Research Professor at the Aalto University EUR 1.5 million to develop the technology further.