CAN ALGAE BE THE SOLUTION FOR FUTURE TEXTILE DYEING?
Textile wet processes, such as dyeing, account for a significant portion of the overall environmental impact of textiles. Dyeing is a resource-intensive process that requires large amounts of water, energy, and chemicals. Currently, Woolpower’s yarn is dyed in a closed system at our yarn supplier in Germany. CAN ALGAE BE THE SOLUTION FOR FUTURE TEXTILE DYEING?
However, by participating in the Algbläck project for non-toxic and low-carbon textile dyeing, we, along with the project partners, are contributing to the development of groundbreaking techniques to eliminate fossil-based materials in our products in the future. The aim is also to reduce the use of water, energy, and chemicals in the dyeing process.
NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT REDUCES WASTE
The spray technique reduces waste and enables flexibility to produce according to demand. Furthermore, it significantly reduces water, chemical, and energy usage compared to conventional textile dyeing methods where garments are dyed in dye baths. Here, the colour is sprayed onto the fabric on both sides, penetrating and adhering to the fibres.
In the ongoing algae project, different variations of blue and green algae ink were recently tested on fabrics made of cotton, wool, and polycotton to assess differences in factors such as colour adhesion and colour intensity. The algae ink being developed by Mounid, led by Ida Näslund, along with researchers Niklas Strömberg and Susanne Ekendahl, is completely non-toxic and fully biodegradable, unlike conventional dyes.
THE GOAL OF THE PROJECT
The results look promising. The colours are evenly sprayed onto the fabrics, and the hues are vibrant and beautiful. Some challenges that the project focuses on solving include ensuring that the colour withstands multiple machine washes (at 60 degrees Celsius) according to the companies’ ambitions for colourfastness.
The goal of the project is to develop at least four prototypes in collaboration with participating brands. The project participants include:
• Baux AB
• Fristads Kansas AB
• IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
• Martinson, Imogo AB
• Sjuhäradsbygdens Färgeri
• Woolpower Östersund
• Wargön Innovation.
The project is supported within the area of Sustainable Industry by Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency.