On 30 June 2022, the 8th BioSC Spotlight took place at the Invention Center at RWTH Aachen University. Experts from academia and industry discussed challenges and new developments for raw material selection and processing methods in the textile industry.
In view of social, political, economic and climatic challenges, the choice of raw materials and processing methods for textiles is becoming much more important. Questions about a circular economy also in the textile industry are becoming more and more frequent and the aspect of regional products is also gaining in importance. These and other topics were discussed intensively by around 40 participants at the "Circular Bioeconomy in Textile Industry" spotlight in Aachen.
After the introduction by Thomas Gries (RWTH Aachen), Michiel Scheffer (Wageningen University) presented the challenges that arise when synthetic fibres, which are currently obtained from crude oil, have to be obtained from waste from agriculture or the food sector in the future. Not only will a considerable monetary investment have to be made, but also a new political strategy will have to be developed in order to successfully convert the textile industry to residual flows from agriculture or the food industry. The second presentation by Stefan Schonauer (RWTH Aachen) provided an overview of the "Bio4MatPro" cluster and the "Green2Black" project which is funded by “Bio4MatPro. Within this project, a "drop-in" is to be created to convert the currently established manufacturing process of carbon fibres from petroleum to glycerine. Gerard Nijhovinig then presented the business concept of the Senbis Group. This company offers contract research and networking opportunities for research and industry cooperation. Senbis specialises in technologies for the production of bio-based and/or biodegradable fibres.
In the second session, Maximilian Nöth (RWTH Aachen) gave an overview of the "EnzyDegTex" project. Here, PET hydrolases are to be biotechnologically optimised for the degradation of cotton-polyester mixtures to obtain PET. PET is then to be used for the production of high-quality chemicals. This was followed by a tandem presentation by Ramona Jasny and Shohana Islam (Henkel AG & KGaA) on the use of different enzymes in detergents and filtering microplastics from laundry.
In the last session, Sea-Hyun Lee (RWTH Aachen) presented the concept behind the "INGRAIN" project. The aim of the project is to create an innovation cluster in the city region, Heinsberg, Mönchengladbach and Lower Rhine region. Within this cluster, projects on "Food", "Textile" and "Agriculture" are to be promoted, whereby it is important that the projects are thematically interlinked. In the last presentation before the closing remarks by Thomas Gries (RWTH Aachen), Sascha Schriever (RWTH Aachen) gave a brief presentation on the BIOTEXFUTURE cluster.
After the last session, there was the opportunity to visit the ITA Institute. This offer was taken up by many participants. In a 1.5-hour guided tour, the different processes of fibre spinning and textile production were presented in detail using vivid practical examples.