Five innovations have won a total of $525,000 as a part of Conservation X Labs’ Microfiber Innovation Challenge for their ability to reduce or prevent microfiber pollution. Submissions were received from 19 countries for their solutions designed to prevent or reduce the shedding of microscopic fibers that pollute air and waterways.
“These five winners each share a revolutionary potential to protect planetary health and stop the harm from microplastic pollution on ecosystems and human health,” said Dr. Alex Dehgan, CEO & co-founder of Conservation X Labs (CXL).
A panel of seven judges made up of representatives from the clothing industry, materials scientists, conservationists and investors selected the winners based on criteria that included feasibility, potential for growth, environmental impact and novelty of their approach.
The winners are:
- Mango Materials, San Francisco, Calif., uses an innovative manufacturing technology to turn methane from waste carbon emissions into biodegradable, biopolyester fibers.
- Natural Fiber Welding, based in Peoria, Ill., manipulates hydrogen bonds in natural fibers such as cotton, to determine their form and shape at the molecular level. The patented technology platform delivers excellent fabric-level performance without the use of synthetic plastics.
- PANGAIA x MTIX Microfiber Mitigation, London and West Yorkshire, U.K., are two materials science companies that are working together on a novel application of MTIX’s Multiplexed Laser Surface Enhancement (MLSE®) technology to strengthen the surfaces of fibers within a fabric to prevent microfiber shedding.
- Tandem Repeat Technologies in Pennsylvania uses genetic sequencing and synthetic biology to produce a new fiber, Squitex, that is based on a unique protein structure originally found in the tentacles of squid.
- Werewool, based in New York, designs biodegradable fibers at the DNA level with tailored characteristics such as color, elasticity or moisture management.
The winners are eligible for additional funding from Conservation X Labs of $25,000 each as they work towards commercialization goals in 2022. The Challenge was funded by the Flotilla Foundation and The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.