DuPont to offer solutions for sustainable textile processing

Environmental issues can be a thing of the past

Textile wet processing traditionally presents serious environmental challenges. Huge volumes of water are consumed during wet processing operations, which results in a high volume of effluent. Combined with several high-temperature operations, this results in very high levels of energy consumption. In addition, wet processing currently uses chemicals that could threaten the environment and pose a potential health hazard for workers in the industry.

Pressure is growing to lessen the amount of chemicals, water, and energy used to produce textiles. The current approach is not sustainable given a world of finite fossil fuel resources, a growing carbon burden, and a society that’s becoming increasingly intolerant to environmental assaults.

Enzymes are the future of textiles

The world is increasingly looking to industrial biotechnology for answers to these challenges. Enzymes, which are natural biocatalysts, provide a much more sustainable way to produce textiles using a natural process of fermentation.

Enzymes can:

  • Replace a host of harsh, caustic chemicals currently used in fabric processing
  • Decrease pressure on waste treatment
  • Improve production efficiency by lowering use of water and energy
  • Perform at lower temperatures and at lower dosages, for less waste

These groundbreaking enzymatic solutions are relevant across an array of textile processes, including fabric desizing, scouring and bleaching, and finishing.

As a leader in industrial biotechnology, DuPont is already helping to move the textiles industry toward long-term sustainability. The company is committed to developing innovative renewable enzyme products and processes that will fundamentally change how the textiles industry impacts the environment in the future.

DuPont enzyme applications: 

A full line of enzymes for every step of the textiles process

Whether you want to become a full enzymatic textile mill or specialize in a certain area, DuPont provides a more sustainable solution. Experienced technical and sales personnel with backgrounds in textile processing are ready to help the industry identify the right enzymatic solutions to achieve business objectives

For fabric and garment desizing

Optisize® amylase enzymes help break down starch and are therefore useful for desizing woven fabrics. Enzymatic starch removal is an efficient and flexible way of desizing. Optisize® products come with a wide pH range and are best suited for cold pad batch and exhaust processes as well as hot pad batch, jigger, continuous, and pad steaming processes.

For scouring and bleaching

PrimaGreen® enzymes are the latest innovation for low- to medium-temperature scouring and bleaching at neutral pH. Using PrimaGreen® results in improved fabric quality, lower fabric weight loss, enhanced absorbency, and improved fabric dyeability compared to conventional scouring and bleaching.

For peroxide clean-up

OxyGone® catalase enzymes allow effective peroxide removal even under the most stringent processing conditions. Traditional methods of removing the residual peroxide after bleaching involve multiple water rinses or chemicals like bisulphate. OxyGone® breaks down the compound into its natural components—water and oxygen. OxyGone® simplifies the bleaching process, provides reliable and complete peroxide removal, and ensures a more consistent dyeing result.

For biofinishing of cotton and other cellulosics

PrimaFast® cellulases allow fabric biofinishing at a neutral pH to reduce pilling and create a higherquality surface. Cellulases can help remove the fibrils that make fabric surfaces rough or fuzzy, producing a cleaner and smoother surface, softer hand, and improved fabric drape that lasts longer.

For denim abrasion

IndiAge® cellulase enzymes are perfect for creating the stonewashed looks of indigo-dyed denim, eliminating use of actual stones. Cellulases work on the surface fibers of denim, loosening them so that washing removes the indigo dye, exposing the white core of the ring-dyed yarns after washing. In addition to producing a fashionable look and feel, this enzymatic treatment lessens environmental impact from pumice Stone mining and lessens damage to washing machines.

For denim shade change

PrimaGreen® fading enzyme systems can be used to alter the color and shade of indigo- and sulphurdyed denim. This enzymatic approach can create new fashion looks from cast adjustment and shade change to bleaching without the use of harmful chlorine or permanganate. PrimaGreen® enables effective color change with less environmental impact.

For wool, silk, and leather treatment

ProtexTM proteases are effective for biofinishing of delicates like wool and silk, and are used for antishrinkage, softening, depilling, degumming, and sandwashing. PrimaTan® proteases are used in the beamhouse for several leather wet-end processing applications including soaking, bating, and liming. These solutions offer safer, more reliable results than natural sources of enzymes.

Benefits of DuPont enzyme products

Conserving natural resources

Processing textiles using traditional means and methods has a major negative impact on our use of natural resources and uses potentially hazardous materials. Regulatory and consumer pressure is demanding to reduce this growing environmental footprint—an imperative for the future success of the global textiles industry.

To help its customers meet this critical need, PrimaGreen® enzyme solutions from DuPont allow its clients to greatly reduce the amount of energy, water, and waste associated with producing textiles. What’s more, by enabling gentler processing, PrimaGreen® solutions deliver the preferred-quality fabrics and contemporary apparel desired by the industry.

Proven through Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)

The first enzymatic textiles bleaching Life Cycle Assessment with PrimaGreen® technology was completed in June 2010. The positive results observed have been validated in largescale production using Gentle Power Bleach™ enzyme solutions from Huntsman Textile Effects. For example, switching all cotton production (~26 mt/yr) to Gentle Power Bleach™ would yield reductions in turbined water use >2x the volume of the Hoover Dam reservoir!

Reductions in climate change impacts would be nearly equal to the annual emission from 7 coal-fired power plants. So now it could be claimed  with confidence that textiles and garments are processed under more sustainable manufacturing conditions!

Introducing all-in-one, full enzymatic textile processing

Now with the addition of PrimaGreen® scouring and bleaching enzymes, it can be benefitted from neutral pH and mild temperature conditions at every step of textile processing. From pretreatment to a great finish, in wovens, knits, and yarns, DuPont® enzymes are the more sustainable solution and allow the industry to combine steps in the mill. PrimaGreen® technology results in improved fabric quality, lower fabric weight loss, enhanced absorbency, and improved fabric dyeability compared to conventional scouring and bleaching.

Flexible Fading™ with PrimaGreen®

Abrasion and fading can now be accomplished in a single bath with no drop and refill. PrimaGreen® enzymes provide the industry with excellent controllable and reproducible effects in the finishing of denim—all at lower temperatures and with less water. Flexible Fading™ allows designers to take one base denim fabric and create multiple looks—saving both money and time while providing high-quality fabrics and finishes that today’s consumers demand.