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FIBFAB Report Summary

Project ID: 737882


Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Tons of fabrics used for clothing applications are produced each year in Europe by yarn spinning (ring and rotor spinning techniques) combining natural fibres (such as cotton or wool) and synthetic fibres (such as polyester), being 40-70% of them natural fibres, followed by the weaving of these yarns. Blends of natural fibres and synthetics are generally prepared to improve comfort and durability aspects of the end products. However, these standard fabrics are complex to recycle after their use since both types of fibres are intermingled and cannot be separated again .
Companies in the textile industry are challenged today to make a radical shift towards innovative and high added value products to counter the competition with low-wage countries. At the same time European industry is looking for links with the environment-concerned customers via the increased use of renewable and recyclable/recycled materials. Cost is not a major limitation, because fabric represents a percentage of less than 8% of final clothing cost , i.e., if the cost of the fabric will be increased by 15%, the cost of the final garment will be increased by 1.2%. Additionally, these new PLA based fabrics offer novel disposal routes after use due to the biodegradable character of all components.
FIBFAB aims to industrialize and successfully launch the production of biodegradable and sustainable polylactic acid (PLA) based fabrics (wool/PLA and cotton/PLA) for clothing, and to overcome the current limitations of PLA fibres as a real alternative to current fabrics (wool and cotton combined with polyester fibres).

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During this period¡, technical work was focused on the study of the commercial PLA grades for fibres, in terms of core evaluation and processability by staple fibres production at both pilot plant and industrial level. In addition, several formulations have been developed and tested according to the same parameters as the commercial ones to be compared with. The final formulation will be defined in the next period. It has focused also on trial production of comparative samples (cotton/PES and wool/PES) yarns in different mixture ratio and the initial industrial production of cotton/PLA yarns with the fibres produced.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Beyond the state of the art, FIBFAB aims to use the knowledge acquired in textiles for other applications to produce fibres for garments applications with the suitable thermal, mechanical and processing properties for clothing sector and cost-competitive fabrics.
Expected results:
• Optimization of PLA formulation and staple fibres extrusion process in order to obtain bio-based fibres at industrial level with the established requirements.
• Both biodegradable textile products, wool/PLA and cotton/PLA, will be obtained by wool and cotton spinning technology and further warping, weaving, knitting, dying and finishing at industrial level. Both products will be validated to verify that functional characteristics remain stable throughout the production cycle.
• A complete Life Cycle Analysis and an economic analysis.
• Several dissemination and exploitation activities will be done, and a Business Plan for the market replication and commercialisation of the products.
As potential impacts of the project, FIBFAB fibres will reduce the dependence of Asian countries (mainly producers of PES fibres) and will improve the competitivity of the European textile sector by creating a new concept of clothing that fits the expectations of customers with high ecological awareness.
Therefore, FIBFAB will enhance the competitiveness and growth of the 3 business partners (DS FIBRES, YUNSA, SINTEX), offering a competitive advantage through the expertise achieved and by taking the lead in market development and introduction.
Remark that DS FIBRES, YUNSA and SINTEX products (fibres, yarns and fabrics) are widely known in the textile sectors, so it is expected a fast introduction in the market, constituting their main advantage to gain market share. They already have an established market niche and trademarks. In addition, the support from committed early adopters will constitute their entry door to the targeted FIBFAB market.
The new FIBFAB trademark will be protected as well as the results of this project through patents or utility models.
On the other hand, it is expected an environmental impact. The consumer is more and more conscious of the environmental foot print of the industrial processes and products.Nowadays there is a new trend in the consumers, which are looking for environmentally friendly garments and, specific industrial market are pulling innovation because of that, but also because of European regulations.
Main competitive challenges for the EU industry remain such as the adjustment to be flexible, sustainable and remain competitive, so clothing sector needs to adapt to standards related to energy and environmental concerns. FIBFAB will contribute to achieve the goals of the following Directives:
1) CO2 emission reductions: The EC committed itself to achieve a significant reduction in CO2 emissions in the coming years. FIBFAB will increase the use of materials from renewable materials instead of petrol-based, due to the lower energy needs (40.2 MJ/kg for PLA and 78.2 MJ/kg for PES) and will lead to reduce emission of greenhouse gases (PLA 0.7 kg CO2 eq/kg and PES 2.2 kg CO2 eq/kg). Based on the production of 1,000 t/year of PLA, we expect a reduction of 1,500t CO2 eq. So, FIBFAB will reduce the environmental foot print of the current clothing products by offering more sustainable products.
2) Contributing to the EU Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC, which aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste going to landfills. Member states are required to reduce these amounts by 65% by 2015. However, 10 million tonnes (38% of the total) of post-consumer plastic were wasted in landfill, so the introduction of a material 100% from renewable resources that can be recycled or can be composted to produce a fertiliser for crops, and which, if landfilled, is biodegradable without residue, will contribute to improve waste management indicators.
3) Horizon 2020 policy objectives: This project produces environmentally friendly products contributin

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