Published 2 years ago.
About a 3 minute read.
The carbon-capture experts and the high-end yoga pants purveyor have developed a waste-gas-based polyester with the same appearance, properties and functionality of virgin polyester — a lower-carbon potential game-changer for the apparel industry.
Biotech startup LanzaTech has partnered with
high-end athletic apparel brand lululemon to create the world’s first yarn
and fabric made from captured carbon emissions. LanzaTech uses nature-based
solutions to produce ethanol from waste carbon sources; for this partnership, it
is working with ‘green’ petrochemical manufacturer India Glycols Limited
(IGL) and Taiwanese textile producer Far Eastern New Century (FENC)
to convert its ethanol to polyester.
LanzaTech — which won both the People’s Choice and Target Overall Winner awards
at the Sustainable Brands Innovation
in 2015 — compares its carbon-recycling technology to that of a brewery; but
instead of using sugars and yeast to make beer, industrial pollution is
converted by bacteria to fuels and chemicals.
Recycling carbon emissions is a fundamental element of a circular economy, which
will keep fossil carbon in the ground — reducing pollution and fossil fuel usage
when used to make value-added products such as polyester. FENC says its
FENC® TOPGREEN® Bio3-PET fiber, a waste-gas-based polyester made from
LanzaTech's ethanol, possesses not only the same appearance but also the same
properties and functionality of virgin polyester. With a lower carbon footprint,
this upcycled textile could transform both lululemon’s products and the apparel
industry at large.
“We must radically change how we source, utilize and dispose of carbon,” says
LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren. “Carbon recycling enables companies like
lululemon to continue to move away from virgin fossil resources, bring
circularity to their products, and achieve their climate change goals around
carbon reduction. We call this being 'CarbonSmart.'”
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In October, lululemon released its first Impact
outlining its multi-year strategies to address critical social and environmental
issues with 12 goals to drive progress. The partnership with LanzaTech is one of
the many ways lululemon is focused on bringing new technologies to the business.
“We know sustainable innovation will play a key role in the future of retail and
apparel, and we are excited to be at the forefront of an innovative technology,”
says Ted Dagnese, Chief Supply Chain Officer at lululemon. “Our partnership with
LanzaTech will help lululemon deliver on our Impact Agenda goals to make 100
percent of our products with sustainable materials and end-of- use solutions,
moving us toward a circular ecosystem by 2030.”
The business world’s focus on developing the greenhouse gas emissions-reduction
solutions critical to ensuring our continued ability to live and thrive is
yielding more and more innovative
and products — including carbon-negative fashion accessories now available from
brand and a forthcoming, lower-footprint
to name a few. LanzaTech is poised to be a major player in these efforts — having so far brought its carbon-capturing and -recycling
technology to airlines, home care companies, fragrance
and now textile production.
Industrial emissions, such as those from a steel mill, would otherwise be
combusted and emitted as GHGs and particulate emissions harmful to the health of
our planet and our communities. By capturing these and reusing the carbon to
make yarn, the finished garments not only have a lower carbon footprint but
ensure community pollution levels are reduced. Once textiles made from these
chemicals reach the end of their useful life, they can be gasified and fermented
by LanzaTech’s process. In this sense, the pathway promotes circularity, keeping
the carbon in the material cycle.
“Since initially connecting LanzaTech's Taiwanese joint-venture setup with a
pilot plant in Taiwan, I believed this waste-gas-based polyester formation would
be a sustainable solution for the polyester industry,” says Dr. Fanny Liao,
EVP of RD & BD at FENC. “We are happy to team up with IGL and lululemon to
complete the supply chain for this historical project and continue working with
LanzaTech towards our common goal for a better Earth.”
Published Jul 13, 2021 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST