You may not always notice, but polyester is everywhere. From sportswear and high-end fashion, to household and automotive, polyester is one of the most-used materials on the planet. It’s a versatile and durable fibre that blends well with other fibres. And can be produced cheaply. The problem is that until now polyester fibre and fabric were only produced from crude oil. That’s right: many of the clothes you wear every day are made of oil. But that could be soon to change as, Wisconsin-based Virent, best known for its bio-based chemicals and bio-fuels is adding fashion to its growing portfolio of products, taking the same technology they’ve already demonstrated as a replacement for petroleum in plastic bottles, diesel, gasoline and jet fuel and applying it to fabric production.
The result? The first ever bio-polyester shirt made from 100% renewable resources, which they say feels, performs and wears just like traditional polyester and believe this breakthrough is much bigger than a shirt.
Virent’s technology produces BioFormPX paraxylene from plant-based materials, resulting in much lower greenhouse gas emissions, yet with the same versatility and performance as its petroleum counterpart. Based on the success of this project, Virent has proven that 100% plantbased polyester fabrics and petroleum-free polyester garments are achievable and a lower carbon footprint alternative to current petroleum-based fabrics.
“Virent’s BioFormPX paraxylene has previously been used to produce 100% plant-based PET plastic bottles. This project demonstrates how our technology and products can also be used to produce crude oil free polyester for use in everyday fabric and fiber applications” said Lee Edwards, Virent CEO. “The fabric and shirts produced from plant-based polyester are identical in all aspects to petroleum polyester, with the important exception that they have a much lower carbon footprint.”
Far Eastern New Century (FENC) worked with Virent to convert the BioFormPX to bio-polyester, and to produce the bio-polyester fabric and shirts.
In the course of its development work over the last few years, Virent has progressed its BioFormPX paraxylene technology to commercial readiness and improved the process economics. Virent has run its demonstration system to fulfill customer orders for both fuels and chemicals since it started operation in 2010. Virent currently has the capability to produce large quantities of BioFormPX paraxylene and other bio-based aromatic chemicals (benzene, toluene, and mixed xylenes) for application development in areas such as packaging, fabrics, and textiles. Virent also has produced sizable biofuels samples (gasoline, jet and diesel) for customer sampling and product development.
Virent ( @ ) is replacing crude oil by creating the chemicals and fuels the world demands using a wide range of naturally-occurring, renewable resources. Its patented technology features catalytic chemistry to convert plant-based materials into a full range of products identical to those made from petroleum, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and chemicals for plastics and fibers. The products are drop-in replacements that enable full utilization of existing logistics infrastructure without blending limitations.
The development of Virent’s BioForming® technology platform is supported through strategic partners including Cargill, Coca-Cola, Honda, Shell and Tesoro. The company has received several grants from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy and Agriculture and has been recognized with many honors, including the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer award and the EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.
Bert van Son, CEO, Mud Jeans will be an expert speaker at Bio-Based Products World in Amsterdam on 24-25th May 2016. Bert will be joining leaders from Ikea, Kingfisher, BASF, Ynsect, Neste, Korres Natural Products, Ecover and many more. Click here all the details of this landmark new event where brands and retailers learn sustainable strategies and uncover bio-based alternatives.
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