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Photo: Hans Theliander

From textiles to dissolving pulp, again

The project develops process solutions for recycling of textile blends, of both polyester and cellulosic fibres (cotton, viscose etc.), that are compatible with a Swedish forest industry and a circular economy.

The research is built upon an alkaline process separating the cellulose fibres and the polyester. The cellulose is recycled into a dissolving pulp (a pulp optimised for textile production), and subsequently regenerated into cellulose fibres (viscose, lyocell etc.). The polyester is depolymerized into its building blocks: glycol and terephthalic acid. The building blocks can be further used as a recycled feedstock to create new polyesters or other synthetic materials.

The possibility to handle both polyesters and cellulosics widens the feedstock of used textiles, and the potential of the innovation. The blend of polyester and cellulose constitutes service textiles (such as hotel, hospital and work wear textiles), which is an already well-controlled textile stream with a low second-hand value, and thus suitable and requested for recycling.

Textile recycling is a complex task, however by utilizing operating industrial processes, the research has steered the industry towards innovation. The research has served as inspiration to the commercial development of textile recycling now seen in the Swedish forest industry.


Publications

Summary

Project name

PTP (pulp-textiles-pulp)

Status

Active

Region

Västra Götaland Region

RISE role in project

Project lead and research

Project start

Duration

2021-09-30

Total budget

2 330 000 SEK

Partner

Chalmes University of Technology, Södra

Funders

Södras forskningsstiftelse

Project members

External press

Supports the UN sustainability goals

9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
12. Responsible consumption and production
15. Life on land
17. Partnerships for the goals
Hanna de la Motte

Contact person

Hanna de la Motte

Forskare

+46 10 516 62 16
hanna.delamotte@ri.se

Read more about Hanna