Project partner TNO (Jaap W. van Hal) presented the HEREWEAR project at the 24th International Seaweed Symposium . In the presentation ​”Blue Cellulose: The Challenge of Producing Fibre-Grade Cellulose from Seaweed” partners shared insights about HEREWEAR’s development of a novel model for the textile industry based on the local production of cellulose fibers derived from bio-based waste, specifically agricultural and seaweed residues.

Credits: Jaap W. van Hal, TNO

“Textiles are responsible for about 10% of the total CO2 emissions, and about 25% of all garments are incinerated or landfilled without ever being worn. Thus more sustainable fashion solutions are needed. Over 20% of the textile sector currently relies on cotton, a crop mostly grown outside the EU and with large environmental impacts (pesticides, intensive water and land use). To reduce this dependency and the environmental impact of traditional textile processes, a novel model for the textile industry is developed in the HEREWEAR project based on the local production of cellulose fibres derived from bio-based wastes, specifically agricultural and seaweed residues. This presentation focuses on the use of seaweed residues for producing cellulose based fabrics. Brown, red and green seaweeds all contain, to varying amounts, cellulose. 

The current hydrocolloid processes (alginate, agar agar and carrageenan), in principle, produce residues that contain cellulose. Furthermore, green seaweed contains the highly valuable polysaccharide ulvan, and cellulose can thus be obtained as side stream. Cellulose rich fractions can be used in the production of cellulosic textile filaments via the HighPerCell® technology developed by DITF, an environmentally benign alternative to the lyocell process. As part of HEREWEAR, approaches to maximise the recovery of both ulvan and cellulose residues have been explored. Furthermore, different routes to obtain seaweed based cellulose have been implemented at lab scale. Further upscaling of these processes have been attempted and key technology challenges are identified for the development of this process concept. Suitability of the refined seaweed cellulose fractions for fibre spinning through HighPerCell® technology is explored in this work. We also present an outlook for the use of alginate and ulvan in textiles (delete, even though it is in the abstract). (Source)

HEREWEAR is proud to take part in such an impactful event, with over 500 people attending physically. Thank you to all the partners involved and for spreading the word about the project and the impact it aims to create. We often attend events to promote the project and to engage our community in meaningful causes. To join and keep up with them, make sure that you follow us on our social media accounts and subscribe to our newsletter. 

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Involved partners:

  • Karla Dussan, Ilona van Zandvoort, André van Zomeren and Jaap W. van Hal from Biobased and Circular Technologies Group, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Petten, Netherlands
  • Antje Ota and Frank Hermanutz from German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research (DITF), Denkendorf, Germany