Launch of Our Latest 360° Innovation Book Featuring Carbon Smart Initiatives

July 2022

Collaborating towards innovation, we explore how cross industry partnerships are looking outside of convention to develop the next generation of more climate conscious materials.

Carbon is becoming a hot topic when it comes to materials, trims and finishes. Particularly in the active market where alternative materials are already being implemented and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their carbon footprint. In LTP’s 360° latest Innovation book, we’ll be highlighting some areas that are utilising this innovation, many of which we’ve highlighted below.

Image: Lanzatech Carbon Material  (https://lanzatech.com/)

According to the McKinsey Fashion on climate report, the fashion industries are reportedly responsible for 2.1 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (2018), that makes up almost 4 percent of the global total. With these staggeringly high numbers, innovating around capture and reuse can help meet inhouse and global climate goals. Carbon can be used in a variety of ways across the apparel market through fabrics that can mitigate the amount of carbon released/emitted or capture it, an area we’ll be focusing on in the innovation book.  

The Process

In an industry responsible for a large proportion of CO2 emissions, transparency between suppliers, brands and consumers is key in creating lower CO2 materials, therefore it’s important to understand how it can be captured and turned into a resource for material production.

Carbon has the potential to replace polyester, and its production process has similarities. The CO2 is usually captured from a highly polluting industrial facility, such as steel works or commercial scale landfill, before being turned into ethanol, converted by pollution eating bacteria to turn into fuel and chemicals. The process is very similar to the brewing process, where instead of yeast being used to make beer, microbe filled vats are used to convert pollution into ethanol.

Image: Carbon Capture Process  (https://lanzatech.com/)

At present, the cost of making the CO2 derived material is significantly higher than traditional polyester. Processes are however evolving, in a bid to make it a more cost effective option, LuluLemon are working on a new synthetic biology process that simplifies the production stages and should, in theory, be able to turn CO2 from a gas, straight into a MEG (monoethylene glycol), ready for polyester production.

Material Innovation

When it comes to innovation and market ready materials, partnership is key with many cross industry collaborations helping to realise the potential.

Lululemon have spearheaded a pioneering collaboration in a bid to replace some of their signature fabrics with more sustainable alternatives. Bio-tech start-up LanzaTech have transitioned their pollution based ethanol creating process, that's usually used for fuel or chemicals, into polyester by working with chemical partner India Glycols to turn the pollution based ethanol into MEG (monoethylene glycol). They then go on to work with textile manufacturer Far Eastern New Century to transform this into polyester. By partnering with global names like Lululemon, mills and innovators have the potential to scale this dramatically.

Inside the 5th edition of the LTP Group’s 360° Innovation Book, image source www.ltpgroup.com

Taking the move to sustainable alternatives further, Far Eastern New Century have dope dyed their CO2 derived textiles. Using their N66 solution dye, they are able to save up to 61% of water, reduce energy consumption by 67% and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 85%.  

Image: Far Eastern New Century (https://www.fenc.com)

Elsewhere, Taiwanese based mills Shinkong and Everest have both made progress towards lowered carbon emissions with carbon-capture yarn technologies. They have captured and converted it through a similar ethanol process to that used by Lululemon. Both were showcased at Performance Days and Everest’s double jersey was shortlisted for an ISPO award.

Finishing & Trim Innovations

There's also plenty of innovation happening when it comes to finishes and trims. On a conceptual level, is the Carbon Looper project, cotton garments are treated with an amine-containing solution that makes the surface of the fabric captures CO2 from the surrounding air. The CO2 can then be released from the fabric when it’s heated, ideally in a greenhouse environment, where it can naturally be taken up by the plants during photosynthesis. According to the Carbon Looper project, the amount of CO2 that can be captured by a garment per day, is approximately equivalent to 1/3 of the amount a tree absorbs per day. The Carbon Looper project claim, after only three ‘loop- cycles’, the garment has effectively become climate-neutral – and instead starts to have a climate positive effect.

Pangaia is also working with carbon capture and utilisation, with their patented AIR-INK® technology, created in partnership with Graviky Labs. Captured pollutant particles are turned into different grades of inks, dispersions and coatings that can be used at scale across apparel industries. According to Graviky Labs, each kg of AIR-INK mitigates 800g of CO2, in comparison to each kg of traditional carbon black ink, which creates a 2.4Kg CO2 footprint.

Image: Pangaia  AIR-INK® (https://pangaia.com/pages/airink)

Commercially available in the trims market, Hong Kong based J-Long are working towards using CO2 as a raw material. Utilising carbon by partially substituting oil based materials in polyol production for CO2, According to J-Long, the manufacturer are saving up to 20% fossil fuel feedstock. The resulting TPU maintains the same quality as the 100% fossil fuel options, and is already being developed for their patches and transfers while at the same time meeting the Recycled Claim Standard Certification.

Inside the 5th edition of the LTP Group’s 360° Innovation Book, image source www.ltpgroup.com

How to get your copy of LTP’s Latest Innovation book

IB.05 showcases the latest innovations in textiles, trims and technologies. To get your hands on a copy of the latest Innovation book, all existing customer should contact LTP Garment CCO Alex Ingildsen.

The 360° Innovation book has become a place for suppliers to introduce their latest “super materials” and pioneering developments. If you’re an innovative supplier and wish to be featured in the next edition, please contact Laura Didziokiene.

This resource is created as part of the companies Value Added Services which are strategically developed to provide brands with the tools to drive new and exciting innovations. This suite includes:

LTP Consciously Crafted

3D Product Visualization

Sustainability Solutions Accelerator

Product Design & Development, Creation and Innovation

360° Innovation book

Seasonal Trend Analysis for the Sport & Outdoor Industry

The Sport & Outdoor Apparel Network

For more information please feel free to contact Alex at the LTP Group [ali@ltpgroup.com].

About LTP

LTP is a Danish owned garment manufacturer for +60premium brands within active sportswear, cycling, outdoor, urban performance, performance running and organic & lifestyle apparel. LTP was established in 1991 and now spans two continents - Europe and Asia with 6 fully owned factories in 5 countries (Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania and Vietnam). Our European Innovation Centre is located in Kaunas, Lithuania and our Asian Innovation Centre is located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We have a Bluesign partner factory in 4 countries where we operate (Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus and Vietnam).

LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Furniture producing in eleven fully-owned factories.