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August 24, 2022

Lenzing moves to renewable energy in Indonesia

Austrian cellulosic fibre producer Lenzing is expanding its global clean electricity portfolio and transitioning its production site in Purwakarta, Indonesia, to green electricity.

By Michelle Russell

Lenzing says its subsidiary in Indonesia, PT. South Pacific Viscose (SPV), has been using electricity generated solely from renewable sources since July this year, which will reduce its specific carbon emissions by 75,000 tonnes annually.

In 2019, Lenzing became the first fibre producer to set a target of halving its carbon emissions by 2030 and becoming climate neutral by 2050. This carbon reduction target has been recognised by the Science Based Targets Initiative.

In Purwakarta, Indonesia, Lenzing is currently investing in the reduction of carbon emissions, as well as air and water emissions. Thanks to its EUR100m (US$99.4m) investment in this area, Lenzing is gradually transitioning its existing capacities for standard viscose to Lenzing Ecovero and Veocel branded specialty viscose.

“Demand for our wood-based, biodegradable specialty fibres is constantly rising,” said Robert van de Kerkhof, chief commercial officer for fibre at Lenzing. “We see enormous growth potential, especially in Asia. The switch to green, renewable electricity marks a huge step forward in converting our Indonesian site into a specialty fibre supplier. This makes us better positioned to meet the growing demand for sustainably produced fibres.”

Boosting growth in specialty fibres

According to Lenzing, Ecovero viscose fibres (for textiles) and specialty viscose fibres under the Veocel brand with Eco Care technology (for nonwovens) generate 50% lower greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution compared to standard viscose.

The company is aiming to generate more than 75% of its fibre revenue from the wood-based, biodegradable specialty fibres business under the Tencel, Lenzing Ecovero and Veocel brands by 2024. With the launch of the lyocell plant in Thailand in March 2022 and the investments in existing production sites in Indonesia and China, Lenzing believes its share of specialty fibres in its fibre revenue will exceed the 75% target by a “significant” margin as early as 2023.

In June, Lenzing joined the chemical industry’s sustainable supply chain initiative, Together for Sustainability (TfS), in a move aimed at helping improve the environmental footprint of the textile and nonwoven industries.

And in March, the company opened what it claims to be the “world’s largest” lyocell plant in Thailand with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes to help serve the growing demand for sustainably produced fibres.

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