Biotechnology company LanzaTech, Skokie, Ill., is partnering with athletic apparel company lululemon to create what the companies say will be the world’s first yarn and fabric using recycled carbon emissions that would otherwise be emitted to the atmosphere as pollution.
LanzaTech uses nature-based solutions to produce ethanol from waste carbon sources and is working with partners India Glycols Ltd. and Far Eastern New Century® (FENC) of Taiwan to convert ethanol to polyester.
Recycling carbon is a fundamental element of the circular economy. The process of capturing and recycling carbon before it is released into the atmosphere is an innovation that LanzaTech has brought to airlines, home care companies and now textile production.
The company’s process sources carbon from different types of feedstocks, from industrial emissions to syngas from gasified agricultural or household waste, including textile waste, and atmospheric CO2. The gas stream is fermented by LanzaTech’s special microorganisms into ethanol or other chemicals. The process is like traditional fermentation, except instead of sugars and yeast, it uses the carbon contained in waste gases and the microorganisms.
The resulting FENCTopGreenBio3-PET fiber possesses not only the same appearance but also the same properties and functionality of virgin polyester, according to the partners.