Leveraging protein-rich waste by-products, an abundant and sustainable raw material, Bloom Labs is spearheading innovation in material engineering to create high-performance clothing and plastic materials that are scalable, commercially viable, and free from harmful petrochemicals and resource-intensive processes.
Textile entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of Bloom Labs, Simardev S. Gulati, said: “Our mission is to make circularity an actuality. We see a future where old resource-intensive processes are replaced with cutting-edge sustainable alternatives.”
Through a combination of bio-manufacturing, advanced protein engineering, and molecular biology, Bloom Labs has unveiled its proprietary technology, capable of transforming waste into practical and versatile pellets. These pellets serve as the building blocks for high-performance fibres that mimic the properties of existing materials, offering the softness of cotton, the elegance of silk, and the functionality of polyester.
The easily transportable pellets provide a solution for manufacturers, overcoming scalability and feedstock risks that have traditionally hindered rapid growth in the field. With seamless integration into existing production processes, these pellets present an environmentally friendly alternative, eliminating the feedstock risks and ecological impact associated with petroleum.
Textile Exchange reports that global fibre production doubled over the past two decades, reaching 113 million tonnes in 2021, with projections estimating further growth to 149 million tonnes by 2030 under current practices. Embracing recycled fibres and next-generation materials becomes imperative to tackle these environmental challenges head-on. However, while 8.5% of global fibres in 2021 originated from recycled materials, primarily recycled polyester from PET bottles, less than 1% of fibres were produced by recycling existing textiles.
Achieving circularity and fostering material innovation is vital for the fashion industry to break free from its reliance on fossil fuels and address the impacts of linear economic systems.
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The report claims synthetic fibres dominate global fibre production, with polyester taking the lead since the mid-1990s. Yet, these petroleum-based fabrics not only contribute to microplastic pollution but also pose significant challenges due to their non-biodegradable nature. The production of petrochemical fibres consumes 1.3 billion barrels of oil annually, surpassing the entire annual oil consumption of Spain. These everlasting materials accumulate in landfills, particularly in the global south, or release toxic chemicals when incinerated.
Gulati added: “Our expert team of interdisciplinary scientists, which includes the inventor of plasticised protein, Walter Schmidt, PhD, are reimagining material sourcing for multiple sectors, and developing commercially feasible alternatives which will create a future of seamless integration, infinite feedstock, and limitless possibilities.”