Biopolymers are being employed in new research cooperation with the goal of providing a sustainable alternative to hazardous chemicals used in DWR textile treatments.
Humble Bee Bio, a biotechnology research firm based in Innovative Zealand, and Deakin University have been awarded $70,000 by the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Center (IMCRC) to develop and test new textile coatings.
The Australian National Fabrication Facility will assist in the seven-month study, which will be headquartered at Deakin's Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM).
Veronica Harwood-Stevenson, CEO and creator of Humble Bee Bio, said that the research partnership will be critical to the company's unique biopolymer's next stage of development. They designed a biopolymer that is water-repellent and resistant to fires, high temperatures, and strong chemicals by emulating the qualities of the solitary masked bee's cellophane-like nesting material.
Veronica added that through this research cooperation, Humble Bee Bio will be able to develop a formulation and production strategy for sustainable DWR biopolymer coatings based on their proof of concept. Australia is on track to become a global leader in advanced biomanufacturing, and they're excited to be a part of that achievement.
Professor Joselito Razal, Director of ARC Research Hub for Future Fibers at IFM, said that the project reinforced Deakin's commitment to re-designing materials for a circular economy. Humble Bee Bio's vision of a sustainable Australian textile sector will be facilitated by Deakin University's world-class expertise and facilities in fiber and materials science,
Dr. Dylan Hegh, IFM's Circular Economy Initiatives Manager and project lead, said that the study would provide Humble Bee Bio with an advanced understanding of the novel material and its properties. By fine-tuning the formulation, this partnership has the potential to reveal new and unexpected uses for the biopolymer, as well as catalyze additional research and development into advanced biomanufacturing.
Dr. Matthew Young, IMCRC’s Manufacturing Innovation Manager, said that the organization was thrilled to be supporting industry-university research collaboration by co-funding Humble Bee Bio's biopolymer development. New innovative materials are critical for Australia and the rest of the globe to achieve a more sustainable future. Humble Bee Bio's sustainable DWR coatings have the potential to close a huge gap in the textiles market once commercialized.
Young added that they create an ecosystem that encourages innovation and commercialization by bringing together industries and research institutions, resulting in enormous potential in specialized, high-value manufacturing.
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