The aim is to study the chemistry of various textile materials and determine the optimal processes and techniques required to get closer to a circular textile economy.
Singapore is building on its vision for zero waste and resource efficiency with a collaboration between Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) and Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), a global resources-based manufacturing group. The RGE-NTU Sustainable Textile Research Centre (RGE-NTU SusTex), which was facilitated by the Singapore Economic Development Board, will focus on accelerating innovation in textile recycling.
The S$6 million research centre, located at NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, will be home to research in areas such as next-generation eco-friendly and sustainable textiles, and turning textile waste into fibre. ‘The aim is to study the chemistry of various textile materials and determine the optimal processes and techniques required to get closer to a circular textile economy,’ the partners said.
The partners added that studies indicate that some 92 million tonnes of textile waste is created globally each year, and only 12% of the material used for clothing ends up being recycled. In addition, the textile industry is said to be responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The RGE-NTU Sustainable Textile Research Centre will leverage the University’s interdisciplinary collaboration, and take ideas from the laboratory into the real world. It will also build on RGE’s industry experience and strong manufacturing capabilities. Initial research will include cleaner and more energy efficient methods of recycling, as well as eco-friendly dye removal.
Professor Lam Khin Yong Senior Vice President (Research) NTU said: ‘Collaboration between universities and the industry has never been more important to tackle today’s complex social, environmental and economic challenges […] Such collaborations allow for a healthy exchange of ideas and know-how between industry and academia, and help pave the way for the translation of research ideas, maximising the reach and impact of NTU’s research for society’s benefit.’
Perry Lim Executive Director RGE added: ‘More countries are banning the import of waste, including textile waste. However current textile recycling technologies, which rely on bleaching and separation processes using heavy chemicals, cannot be implemented in urban settings such as Singapore. This is where RGE can help, drawing on our 20 years of experience in viscose fibre making, to provide $6 million in funding to establish the research centre, fund its work, share our global R&D expertise as the world’s largest viscose producer, and to potentially scale up the viable innovations and solutions across our global operations.’