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Лого на Европейската комисия
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Sectors covered
Technology innovation in textile & clothing
Innovation priority
Smart, high-performance materials
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Introduction

Nanocork is a new bio-denim finish for garments and textiles made from leftovers of the cork stopper production process. This project aims to adjust and scale-up technology to provide environmentally friendly garments and fabrics: LEBIU fabrics.

Cork industry waste is upcycled to make these materials. When this cork dust, which is a very abundant residue from manufacturing bottle stoppers, is treated with our process, we obtain a functional alternative to conventional finishes. The key step of the process is 'micro nebulisation', a technology owned by Care Applications.

Micronebulisation is a technology that introduces chemical products into a rotating machine instead of using the traditional bath system. It micronises the water droplets and the product until achieving a misty effect. The metering system developed by Care Applications allows the controlled diffusion of the nebulised solution on the material. This leads to reproducibility and quality while saving water, energy, chemicals and water treatment. Care Applications' ECOFinish system can potentially be installed in existing machinery, optimising and modernising them, as well as making them more sustainable.

The cork particles, along with other bio-based products and natural pigments, are nebulised, creating a mist that envelops the garment or fabric. In this way, the particles gradually penetrate the fibres of the support fabric (organic cotton, hemp, linen, etc.). The cork adheres and deposits onto the structure and weft of the garment/fabric in a controlled way, depending on the amount needed. Consequently, this produces bio-denim effects by only using vegetable raw materials without adding toxic products to achieve a worn effect.

Nanocork attains significant savings in water and chemicals during production. The fabric, wrapped in a cork mist, needs only a minimal amount of water for the particles to penetrate the fibres, cutting water-usage up to 90%. The cork-solution is applied in a quantity so that garments can absorb it without waste. Lastly, the process reduces overproduction and spending on textile material since ad-hoc garments can be made and dyes can be added without producing more than needed.

Objectives

  • To provide a new generation of fabrics and garments made from renewable resources and waste from the cork industry.
  • Doing this by using the most advanced technologies in the field of sustainability in the fashion sector.
  • Support the EU’s Green Deal, helping to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050.

Outcome of ELIIT project support

Impact (to date): Thanks to ELIIT, LEBIU will be ready to market the new finish and receive royalties from the compound, using an innovative technology to produce bio-denim clothes.

Partners

SME: LEBIU

Country: Italy
Year of creation: 2020
Background: LEBIU helps reducing CO2 emissions and reuses waste from the cork industry to reintroduce it into the production cycle, creating a new bio-material for garments, shoes, accessories, and furniture that can be used in the fashion and design industries.
More information: company website, Instagram

Technical provider: Care Applications

Country: Spain
Year of creation: 2015
Background: Care Applications is developing unique accessories for the garment processing industry. These developments aim to optimise and modernise existing garment washing and dyeing machinery, making them more sustainable, recycling existing machines while providing training on more sustainable processes. Care Applications customises equipment and adapts it to suit the companies’ plants.
More information: company website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube