The textile fiber industry is facing new challenges due to the population growth and the increasing demand in consumption and technical goods. The demand in textile fibers is predicted to raise by at least 77% by 2030. The share of natural and man-made cellulosic fibers (MMCF) is expected to be between 33 and 37% of the global fiber consumption. Due to the limited expansion potential of cotton production, alternative new technologies to the currently commercialized viscose and lyocell processes find change to fill the so called future cellulose gap. At the same, however, the ecological and economical status of the existing viscose supply chain needs to be continuously improved.
In recent years, fashion has emerged as a rapidly growing sector using forests for fabrics such as viscose, modal, lyocell and other trademarked textiles. Vibrant forest ecosystems in North and South are critical for maintaining species diversity, a stable climate and freshwater systems. That is also of a key importance when building new capacities for dissolving pulp by Metsä Fiber and others in Finland.
Many viscose producers are interested to develope their processes for more environmental by reducing thei water and air effluents. The consumption of carbon disulphide and loss of Glauber´s salt with waste water have been steadily decreased. Some of the viscose fibre producers (e.g. Birla, Lenzing)complete audits and make LCA analysis of their current process and supply chains confirming the safety and that the risk of sourcing wood from ancient and endangered forests or other controversial sources is low risk.
Moving forward, the companies intend to further improve sustainability from forest to fashion by undertaking steps such as continuing to advance research and development on new technologies of recycled and alternate fibres; supporting conservation solutions in the world’s ancient and endangered forests, ensuring mills and wood suppliers continue to maintain their own independent third party certification systems.
The ecological status of of of the major textile fiber, polyester (PET) has been concentrated mainly on recycling of plastic bottles to textile fibers by using thermal processing. Replacing ethylene diol by fermented 1,3-propylene diol result in poly(trimethylene terphalate, PTT), which is biobased by 37%. Recent development on biobased monomers and bioplastics shows inreasing possibilities for totally biobased polyesters. Bioethanol can be reduced for manufacturing bioethylene and further ethylene diol. Fructose hydrolyzed from plant-based materials can be hydrolysed twice to alkoxymethylfurfural and further oxidized to furandicarboxylic acid. Thus, both of the polyester monomers in PEF are biobased.
DuPont Industrial Biosciences is the 2017 European Bio-based Materials Company of the Year, according to leading market research firm Frost & Sullivan. DuPont has shown both commercial and pre-commercial success in developing new biomaterials that meet the needs of customers and consumers worldwide. For example, DuPont Sorona, a high-performance, patented polymer, is made with a renewable, plant-based ingredient, for use in everything from carpets to ski jackets to sarees. Additionally, fibre made with Sorona polymer possesses exceptional softness, high durability, stretch, and stain resistance, and often outperforms petroleum-based products. In early 2016, DuPont and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) announced a new technology that produces a biobased monomer, furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME), from a renewable feedstock. The process has potential to expand the materials landscape with applications in packaging, textiles and engineering plastics, the manufacturer explains. ADM and DuPont have taken the initial step in the process of bringing FDME to market by moving forward on the scale-up phase of the project. An integrated 60 ton-per-year demonstration plant is currently under construction in Decatur, IL, and is expected to begin operations in the second half of 2017. The facility will provide potential customers with sufficient product quantities for testing and research as well as the required basic data for a planned commercial-scale plant.