Wool Source was formed to prove the commercialisation of new products arising from the New Uses Programme, backed by world-class research and science.
Wool Source aims to leverage the environmental positives of the new products that have so far been developed, highlighting their natural, healthy, and sustainable attributes, particularly where they are a better and more environmentally friendly alternative to existing products or production methods.
Who we are / What we do
At Wool Source, we are reimagining the future of wool. Our research has expanded the possibilities of how you can use wool. All-natural, sustainable strong wool particles are the base ingredient for a new generation of high-performance.
Wool Source exists to commercialise and launch innovative new uses for New Zealand’s strong wool that are good for people and the planet.
In 2016 WRONZ and the Ministry for Business and Innovation (MBIE) committed to a seven year, joint research New Uses for Crossbred Wool Partnership Programme. The purpose of the programme is to identify potential new uses for strong wool and generate transformational, high-value, and high-volume opportunities for the strong wool-based industry, utilising 20,000 tonnes (20 million kilos) of New Zealand strong wool. Wool Industry Research Limited
WIRL was subsequently formed by WRONZ to be the delivery vehicle in developing innovative new uses for crossbred wool. Following promising research outcomes, in 2020 another subsidiary company, Wool Source Limited, was formed to drive market engagement and commercialisation of new products arising from the New Uses Programme.
The New Uses Programme focuses on the deconstruction or breaking down of strong wool fibres which can then be reconstructed to form various materials able to be used to make other products.
New uses could include filtration, cosmetics, personal care, nutrition, luxury fibres, printing, bedding, fill applications, pigments, pastes, and leather. Several new deconstruction methods have been further refined, and a number of reconstructed products identified.
The intention is to establish large scale manufacturing capability within New Zealand producing one or more of the new ingredients, and a research pilot plant is now underway.
New products will be licensed to a range of commercial entities including those in industries such as personal care and cosmetics, bedding, luxury garments, filtration, wet spinning and for use as pigments.
It is envisaged there will be economic benefit from the creation of an onshore ingredient manufacturing sector using New Zealand strong wool, for the growers, manufacturers, and WRONZ (by way of royalties) allowing further research and development.
The products developed so far are a good environmental story, and their development comes at a time when there is growing consumer demand for more natural, healthy, and sustainable products.
The programme aims to:
- Develop new added value ingredients that will generate opportunities for new business, manufacturing in New Zealand, increase exports, and international markets
- Highlight wool’s positive environmental and health benefits to help build value and demand for wool and the products made from it
- Increase the per kilogram farm gate price for New Zealand strong wool base on increased demand
- Maintain ownership of intellectual property, control rights and ensure that manufacturing is New Zealand based and using New Zealand strong wool
- Provide opportunities for WRONZ members and other companies to be involved
- Collaborate with Iwi on cultural and commercial opportunities
Deconstructed Particles (DP)
DP takes the form of very small and roughly spherical shaped powder. Research and market engagement show high-value opportunities for DP, used in a range of reconstructed forms including cosmetics, personal care, and printing.
Deconstructed Particles 2 (DP2)
DP2 are tiny cylinders of wool, which, among other potential uses, can be used in personal care. It is the simplest of the new ingredients and one of the easiest to produce.
Separated Cells (SC)
SC are spindle-like fragments of fibre consisting of mostly cortical cells. It has an enormous surface area (1,000 times greater than strong wool), making them ideal for uses such as down fill replacement and filtration.
Fibre Paste 3 (FP3)
FP3 is a deconstructed form of wool that can be used in wet spinning dopes. When combined with other materials it can be extruded into a smooth continuous filament fibre that is typically about 10 microns in diameter.
The Research Team
The Lincoln Agritech New Materials Group is the lead research provider to the New Uses Research Programme, a partnership between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Wool Industry Research Limited, a subsidiary company of WRONZ.
The team are focused on generating transformational, high-value and high-volume opportunities for the strong wool industry.
BSc, MSc (Organic Chemistry),