The Lycra Company, a global company specialised in developing new fiber and technology solutions for the textile and apparel industry, has entered into an agreement with Qore to enable a worldwide large-scale commercial production of bio-derived spandex using Qira, a next generation 1,4-butanediol (BDO), as one of its main ingredients. This will result in 70% of the Lycra fiber content being derived from annually renewable feedstock.
This change could potentially reduce the carbon footprint of Lycra fiber by up to 44% versus equivalent product made from fossil-based resources, while maintaining the same high-quality performance parameters of traditional Lycra fiber.
Qira will be produced at Cargill's biotechnology campus and corn refining operation in Eddyville, Iowa. The facility, which is currently being built, will commence operations in 2024. The first renewable Lycra fiber made with Qira will be produced at The Lycra Company’s Tuas, Singapore manufacturing site in 2024.
The Lycra Company is currently seeking commitments with brand and retail customers who are pursuing bio-derived solutions for their apparel.
“As part of our sustainability goals, we are committed to delivering products that support a more circular economy while helping our apparel and personal care customers reduce their footprint,” said Julien Born, CEO, The Lycra Company. “We are especially pleased to collaborate with Qore, a company that shares our vision for innovative, sustainable solutions. Their expertise in operating fermentation processes and understanding of the chemical value chains makes them the ideal partner to help develop a bio-derived Lycra fiber at commercial scale.”
“We are proud to partner with The Lycra Company on bringing this sustainable material solution to the market. This collaboration demonstrates that Qira directly replaces conventional BDO and thus significantly improves the fiber’s sustainability profile,” said Jon Veldhouse, CEO, Qore.
The first generation of renewable Lycra fiber made with Qira will use feedstock from field corn grown by Iowa farmers and will enable a significant reduction in CO2 footprint. According to The Lycra Company, in addition to replacing a finite resource with an annually renewable one, there is no change in fiber performance, eliminating the need for any re-engineering of fabrics, patterns, or processes.
An equivalent performance was demonstrated in 2014 when the world’s first bio-derived spandex was launched under the Lycra brand, when the company has since been granted a patent for the process used to make renewable elastane from bio-derived BDO.