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A global initiative on sustainable fibers

We aim to combine the creative efforts of global & local stakeholders to create knowledge and foster technological developments that promote responsible and sustainable practices for fiber production, sourcing, conversion and utilization

Learn more about this initiative 

About SAFI

Established in July 2021, the Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative (SAFI) is the major global university-industry partnership effort focused on researching, developing, and utilizing alternative fibers to manufacture a myriad of sustainable products. Several challenges and uncertainties prevent the full-scale adoption of alternative fibers; some of those uncertainties relate to the perceived vs. real sustainability of these alternative fibers, their performance, and the capital investment required.

Research areas

All steps in fiber production from agricultural residues and purposely grown fibers are evaluated to gain insights into their availability, biomass, cost and feedstock delivered cost.

This area focuses on determining the chemical composition (lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose, extractives, and ash) and fiber morphology of the different non-wood feedstock to understand their potential.

The conversion area aims to develop, evaluate and optimize sustainable pulping processes for alternative fibers. Conversion methods rely on traditional and nontraditional chemical, mechanical and thermomechanical pulping processes.

SAFI team evaluates fiber, pulp, and materials properties to match the application with those to manufacture sustainable products.

Our team simulates conversion processes, models their mass and energy balances to size equipment, and thus estimates capital investment, financial return, and implied quantitative risks.

Sustainability is core at SAFI. Life cycle assessment (LCA) models are used to assess environmental burdens associated with the production of the biomass and their conversion to fibers and final products.

Understanding consumer perception toward goods containing sustainable fibers is a crucial research area for SAFI. This research area aims to develop data-based communication strategies to connect with sustainable-oriented customers and understand their perceptions and behavior.

Latest News

On January 23rd and 24th, NC State will host the SAFI In-person meeting for our members. During this event, the latest results and updates in each research area will be provided, fostering closer interaction between the members and the team. We look forward to welcoming our members soon.

SAFI members listen to presentation - Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative - College of Natural Resources at NC State University
SAFI In-person meeting 2023

Featured Student of the Month

Naycari Forforaa - Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative - College of Natural Resources at NC State University

Naycari Forfora is a 3rd-year doctoral student at NC State and a team member of the SAFI consortium. Naycari graduated from Universidad de los Andes, Venezuela in 2020 with Magna Cum Laude honors in Chemical Engineering. She commenced her doctoral studies in Forest Biomaterials in the College of Natural Resources at NC State University in 2022 under the guidance of Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Venditti. Her research primarily focuses on determining the carbon footprint of pulp and paper products, conducting analyses of the role of biomass, and exploring their potential for soil organic carbon sequestration in environmental impact. Naycari has contributed to sustainability analyses of various alternative feedstocks and their soil organic carbon sequestration potential for pulp and paper products within the SAFI consortium. Currently, she serves as the research leader of the Sustainability team.

For more information, contact her at