Biopolymers, Biomaterials

From Farm to Fiber: Developing Elastane with 70% Renewable Content

Saal B
Mittwoch, 11.09.2024, 14:20 - 14:45 Uhr

This paper covers the development of bio-derived LYCRA(r) fiber through its various stages from feedstock selection to fermentation to fiber development and testing. The collaboration between The LYCRA Company and Qore®, maker of the bio-derived ingredient, has made it possible to produce at scale an elastane with up to 44% fewer carbon emissions than standard product. Test results also show equivalent fiber and fabric performance to original LYCRA® fiber.

The LYCRA Company is collaborating with Qore®, a joint venture between Cargill and Helm, to enable production of the world’s first LYCRA® fiber to be made at scale using at least 70% annually renewable feedstock. Qore® is currently constructing a plant in Eddyville, Iowa. Run on nearly 90% wind power, the site will produce 65,000 metric tons per year of BDO derived from “dent” corn. This renewable intermediate, called QIRA® is then used to create renewable poly(tetramethylene ether) glycols (PTMEG), a key ingredient in LYCRA® fiber. By replacing fossil-based inputs with those derived from dent corn we can achieve up to a 44% reduction in CO2 emissions versus standard LYCRA® fiber. Further, fabrics made from initial quantities of bio-derived LYCRA® fiber show equivalent performance to those made with original LYCRA® fiber, thus eliminating the need for any down-stream re-engineering of fabrics, patterns or processes. This paper will cover the entire process from farm to fiber, including the sourcing of feedstock (featuring video of some of the regenerative farming practices being employed), the fermentation process used to create the bio-BDO, fiber production considerations and performance metrics of fibers and fabrics made with test fiber. Note: this is intended to be a joint presentation by representatives of both The LYCRA Company and Qore®.