Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, contributing 10% of the world’s greenhouse emissions and much of its resource consumption.
Despite growing food insecurity, cotton farming continues to occupy an area equivalent to Germany and consumes the same amount of water drunk by 500B people in a year.
In addition, 150M trees are cut down every year to be turned to viscose, a highly polluting textile.
Unfortunately, as the world gets richer and consumption increases, these problems are only set to worsen.
Fashion companies are rushing to use novel eco-textiles, causing the sustainable fibre industry to be forecast to grow at twice the rate of the rest of the industry. Many materials however are limited due to an inability to scale-up sourcing and incompatibility with existing infrastructure making them economically infeasible. Those that overcome this often inflate their sustainability claims while using plastics and intensive manufacturing.
We convert potato harvest waste into eco-textiles for fashion companies. Annually, over 250M tonnes of potato stems are pulverised or incinerated due to being inedible and susceptible of catching disease; with our technology this could be converted into enough clothing to satisfy 60% of global consumption.
We purchase the waste from farmers and apply our circular biological and mechanical technology to extract fibres from potato stems. As well as being cheaper to cultivate than current textile crops, the extracted fibres can be easily spun and woven at textile mills; making Fibe textiles highly scalable and low cost.
Our fibres consume 90% less land and 96% less water than cotton and 94% CO2e savings compared to polyester.
Our tests indicate the resulting textile will be soft, durable and anti-microbial. We are now conducting an Innovate UK project to refine our process and prototype a fabric sample with help from Leeds University.
The original team met while studying Design Engineering (MEng) at the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London and have recently graduated in 2022. Pablo and David became good friends while working together at MX3D in Amsterdam during their 3rd year placement. Meanwhile, Hazel and Idan worked on the same project in their internships in Ocado Technology. Premal worked with the rest of the team across the degree and all members decided to work together for the ‘enterprise rollout’ module.
The team is united by a common passion for innovation, hardware and entrepreneurship; we aim to couple these interests with our broad skill sets to reduce the environmental footprint of one of the most polluting industries in the world. We have a shared healthy scepticism towards sustainable solutions and are keen to make solutions that are truly good for our environment and society. We are eager to see our innovation make a change in the Fashion industry.
"The Tata Varsity Pitch has been a great experience. We found the competition to be well organised and the communication to be great! We strongly recommend any students with an idea to apply!"
- Speak to lots of people
- Get hands on doing stuff as soon as possible
- Find out what has already been done
- Try to do something you either already understand or have the skills to quickly understand
- Be kind to everyone, people want to network with friendly people not mean people.
- Build a team that compliments your weaknesses