Five game-changing innovations share $525,000 Conservation X Labs prize to end microplastic pollution
Five trailblazing projects aiming to prevent the devastating impacts of microplastic pollution have won $525,000 as part of Conservation X Lab’s (CXL), a tech company working to address conservation issues, Microfiber Innovation Challenge.
The winners beat competition from 19 countries for their solutions to prevent shedding of microfibers that are shed into water systems when synthetic fabrics are washed.
“These five worthy winners share a revolutionary potential to protect planetary health and stop the harm from microplastic pollution on ecosystems and human health,” said Alex Dehgan, CEO of Conservation X Labs. “These tiny plastics are found in our drinking water, the food we eat and even the air we breathe.”
- Tandem Repeat Technologies (Philadelphia) uses genetic sequencing and synthetic biology to produce a new fiber, Squitex, that is based on a unique protein structure originally found in squid tentacles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPTjFOwPdg0&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=10
- Mango Materials (San Francisco) uses innovative manufacturing technology to turn methane from waste carbon emissions into biodegradable, biopolyester fibers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1hwQIzfQeo&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=4
- Natural Fiber Welding (Illinois) manipulate hydrogen bonds in natural fibers (such as cotton) to determine form and shape at the molecular level, greatly enhancing performance without using synthetic plastics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNv9aotyFVI&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=6
- PANGAIA x MTIX Microfiber Mitigation, a technology/fashion brand hybrid that already have their own range of microplastic-free clothing lines, were founded in Yorkshire, UK, and use laser technology to strengthen surfaces of fibers within a fabric in a way that prevents microfiber shedding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL_Oow9Uz0c&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=8
- Werewool Fibers, (New York) uses the power of naturally-occurring proteins as inspiration for its platform for designing fibers from the DNA level up, allowing tailored characteristics such as color, elasticity, or moisture management. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sXs1QsrwIA&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=12
See related article: BPOC RECOGNIZED BY BLUWAVE AS A TOP 50 PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM AND A RECIPIENT OF THE 2022 INNOVATOR AWARDS
Scientists are beginning to understand the scale of the problem microplastic pollution poses. Around two million tonnes of microfibers are released into the ocean every year. Microfibers have been detected at the top of Mount Everest as well as in animals living in the deepest part of the ocean. The ubiquity of microfibers means it is estimated we each consume a credit card’s worth of plastic every week.
Source: Conservation X
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