An interdisciplinary team of students is working together to make fabrics from salt-tolerant plants grown in seawater in a bid to reduce the amount of freshwater consumed by the textiles industry.
The students – from the Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art – are planning to launch a start-up, SaltyCo, to bring their innovative products to market.
Insulating jacket liners, faux leather and clothing, including t-shirts and trousers, could all potentially be made with the fabrics which are made from a plant that thrives in water pumped from the sea, according to the students.
SaltyCo is developing three different textile products - a woven fabric, a non-woven fabric and a technical stuffing - from the plant which, to protect their intellectual property, they are declining to name.
The stuffing is the closest to being market-ready, and SaltyCo has already showcased it as part of a jacket. The students have also showcased their non-woven fabric which they see being used for accessories or faux leathers.
The woven fabric requires the most development and, if done right, it would have similar properties to linen or cotton.
SaltyCo's mechanical engineer Julian Ellis-Brown told Dezeen magazine: "We were initially shocked by the vast quantities of resources that currently go into the fashion and wider textiles industry, specifically freshwater.
"We've been pushing our planet to the limit of its resources and are now starting to see the effects of wells drying up, lakes and reservoirs being replaced by deserts and more and more people suffering from water scarcity on a daily basis."
SaltyCo is one of five startups founded by Imperial College London students competing for a £20,000 prize in the Imperial Enterprise Lab's Venture Catalyst Challenge.
Source: EcoTextile News
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