Hanna de la Motte
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.
Västra Götaland Region
Project lead and research
2 330 000 SEK