Covestro develops elastic textile fibres made from carbon dioxide for the clothing industry

Covestro and RWTH Aachen University have collaborated to develop elastic textile fibres made from carbon dioxide for the clothing industry.

Two research projects have succeeded in making elastic textile fibres based on CO2 and so partly replacing crude oil as a raw material.

Covestro and its partners, foremost the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University and various textile manufacturers, are developing the production process on an industrial scale and aim to make the innovative fibres ready for the market.

They can be used for stockings and medical textiles, for example, and might replace conventional elastic fibres based on crude oil. The elastic fibres are made with a chemical component that consists in part of CO2 instead of oil.

This precursor called cardyon is already used for foam in mattresses and sports floorings. And now it is being applied to the textile industry.

“That’s a further, highly promising approach to enable ever broader use of carbon dioxide as an alternative raw material in the chemical industry and expand the raw materials base,” says Dr. Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro.

“Our goal is to use CO2 in more and more applications in a circular economy process and save crude oil.” 

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will fund the development of the method of producing fibres from CO2-based thermoplastic polyurethane and it will now be optimised as part of the “CO2Tex” project, which is to be funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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