Using biotechnology to transform agro-food industry by-products into biopolymers for circular and regenerated cellulose fibres in textile fabrication processes.
At a glance
- The project connects an interdisciplinary research group from biotechnology, materials science, engineering, design and lifecycle analysis.
- This research proposes to produce materials from waste to reduce the environmental footprint of textiles.
- We are seeking to develop new routes for the development of localised cellulosic fibre production.
The challenge is to explore the potential of using cellulose from agricultural by-products and the biological fraction of municipal solid waste as a replacement to cellulose that is currently derived from trees for semi-synthetic textile fibres such as viscose and lyocell. The work involves maximising the productivity of biotechnological systems for producing cellulose, trialling the production of viscose-like regenerated fibres from our cellulose, and producing and testing textiles made from these fibres.
The project is led by the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products at the University of York, which will convert wastes into sugars for bacterial fermentation into cellulose. The University of Leeds will lead to the trials of regenerated cellulose fibre production in sustainable and non-toxic regeneration technologies. Once these fibres are produced, they will be introduced into a range of textile fabrication processes in the Sustainable Future Materials theme of the Materials Science Research Centre. The proposed work will aim to increase process efficiency and to generate data to carry out a techno-economic analysis to assess the commercial viability of this novel process for textile manufacturing. MSRC Visiting Professor Phil Purnell will assess the environmental impacts of making textiles in this way using a life cycle analysis.
A series of studies to assess the feasibility of the three main research areas for Sustainable Future Materials, Manufacturing and Consumer Experience.
The Network looks at the possibility to replace finite resources with by-products of the food industry from specific geographical locations.
This project aims to establish a strategy for designing garments and consumer experiences that contribute to a circular economy by inviting and empowering consumers to participate in closing the material circles.