US-based sustainable materials start-up Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) has announced 110,000 square feet of new manufacturing space for production of its Mirum plant-based leather. 

The expansion more than doubles the Peoria, Illinois-based start-up's manufacturing footprint. The company will eventually produce "tens of millions" of square feet of Mirum per year for global brand partners within this new space, which will also house some Mirum business and R&D functions.

"Over the last two years we've been collaborating with a substantial number of brands who are ready to bring Mirum into the marketplace," said Oihana Elizalde, vice president at NFW and head of the Mirum business unit. "We've shown that Mirum can perform like conventional leather in several key segments including fashion, footwear, and automotive – but without plastic resins, glues, or coatings other plant-based alternatives rely on."

Founder and CEO Dr Luke Haverhals added the company is now firmly in the commercialisation and scaling phase.

"NFW is scaling multiple pluripotent manufacturing platforms that produce highly tunable performance materials using abundant natural raw inputs. NFW is pioneering an entirely new system that will enable humanity to break our addiction to synthetic plastics in major global industries. Making our clothes, shoes, furniture, and automobiles from plants grown by regenerative agriculture is the future."

The firm currently has about 80 employees and expects to add more than 100 jobs in 2021. 

US fashion company Ralph Lauren Corporation took a minority stake in NFW last August amid plans to help scale the firm's patented process and to develop first-of-its-kind performance apparel made from natural, sustainable materials.