High-tech fibers are being touted as the “next big thing” everywhere from the garment industry to automotive production. But can technical textiles actually help save the planet?
There are an increasing number of textile applications in play designed specifically to protect and restore the environment. It’s an exciting time to be in the industry; positive changes are afoot. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which tech fibers are improving the natural environment one thread at a time.
More Efficient Marine Cleanup
It’s no secret that the world’s oceans are disastrously polluted. Researchers from Holland to America are working on technical applications involving fibers that effectively clean both marine trash and particulates. A Dutch Company, The Ocean Cleanup, has invented a passive system of suspended fiber screens in an attempt to get rid of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” once and for all. Likewise, an American dad has patented a microplastic particle removal tool made of polymer-coated mesh that essentially “sifts” plastic debris from polluted shoreline sand. Scientists estimate that there are currently over 400 “dead zones” in the world’s oceans, areas that are too polluted to support any form of life.
Tech Textiles for Cleaner Energy Production
Rising energy consumption in developed and developing nations is spurring a global push to create more feasible options for green energy production. Technical fibers play a surprisingly large role in the manufacture and construction of many green energy systems. The wind turbine industry, for example, grows 5-9% year-over-year. These systems require the stiffness-to-weight advantages of advanced GRFP composites to function correctly, and advances in glass fiber technology continue to improve the process of custom, in-place build-outs of this complicated machinery.
Chemical Manufacturing Goes Greener
The global chemicals industry poses immense threat to the health of our environment, from ozone pollution to groundwater contamination to fossil fuel usage. Tech textiles may be the answer. Bio-based fibers – those made of soy and other natural ingredients – are leading a green manufacturing revolution that’s impacted a range of industries including garment production and automotive/aerospace. Not only do high-performing technical fibers such as “spider silk” save producers money, they’re imminently more sustainable long term than traditional organic and chemically-comprised fibers.
B&W Fiberglass is invested in the sustainability movement. Our glass fiber textiles help improve processes, streamline logistics, and can be endlessly customized to suit a wide variety of applications. What can we do for your next project?