The partnership will see von Holzhausen and Nanollose work together to develop a premium leather alternative from treated and processed microbial cellulose in various forms.

Nanollose will provide von Holzhausen with samples of treated and processed microbial cellulose in various forms for testing as potential alternatives to leather or other materials either in their initial state or after further processing by von Holzhausen. As part of the collaboration agreement, each party will work closely together liaising regularly to exchange information and key specifications to advance the collaboration.

The term of the agreement is from execution until the earliest to occur of one year, or completion of the development period. This term can be extended by the written agreement of both parties and either party may terminate the agreement by providing no less than three months prior written notice. If the
collaboration is successful in developing commercially viable project materials, Nanollose and von Holzhausen will work together in good faith to agree on a supply agreement or other relevant commercial agreement to jointly commercialise the project materials.

The project is independent of Nanollose’s collaboration with Birla Cellulose as, unlike its Nullarbor technology, it does not require the production of fibre.

The agreement adds to what Nanollose calls its strong network of collaborators, which it says has rapidly advanced following the completion of its first pilot spin of the company’s Nullarbor-20 forest-friendly lyocell fibre with Birla Cellulose.

“Microbial cellulose is not only vegan, but also natural and biodegradable, making it an ideal component for sustainable vegan materials. Nanollose’s expertise in microbial cellulose combined with von Holzhausen’s expertise and track record in developing and commercialising vegan leathers makes this an exciting opportunity,” says Nanollose executive chairman, Dr Wayne Best.

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A material innovation company, von Holzhausen is on mission to make leather extinct through the development of next-generation materials made from plants and recycled materials. The group’s vegan leather products replicate the essence of leather but are said to offer superior performance and a dramatically lower carbon impact. Based in California, the company has factories in the US and Italy which utilise its alternative materials including Banbū Leather and Technik–Leather created from plants and recycled fibres, and designed to be biodegradable in a landfill.

von Holzhausen CEO, Vicki von Holzhausen, says the partnership with Nanollose furthers its commitment to solving the urgent issue of climate change by transforming waste materials into premium ones that can be used across multiple industries.

“We believe that partnering with Nanollose’s bacterial cellulose technology will accelerate our goal of making leather extinct.”

The vegan leather market is a large market opportunity which has seen exponential growth in recent years. Increasing awareness of the ethical and environmental concerns over the impact of traditional leather production among consumers is a key driver for individuals adopting vegan culture and
products, von Holzhausen and Nanollose say.

The firms add the market is expected to continue its strong growth and be valued at US$89.6bn by 2025.

Nanollose explains microbial cellulose growth in a video posted on its website: