A key anticipated outcome from the collaboration is the establishment of a low-carbon and green urban-fit pilot textile recycling plant in Singapore that is capable of converting local textile waste into new raw materials to produce new quality garments. This initiative is part of RGE’s US$200 million commitment on next-generation textile fibre innovation and technology.
Clean & Efficient Mixed Fibre Separation
While textile recycling technologies have advanced in recent years, several gaps remain. For instance, current textile chemical recycling technologies require strong solvents which can potentially pose hazards to human health and the environment. RGE-NTU SusTex is developing novel cost-effective and ‘green’ solvents for textile recycling.
Automated Front-End Textile Waste Sorting
Sorting textile waste into similar compositions is a critical step in textile upcycling. Though a critical enabler, most sorting is done manually – a laborious process. RGE-NTU SusTex explores a combination of advanced spectroscopic techniques and machine learning capabilities to enable automated textile waste sorting based on fibre composition.
Alternative Use for By-Products of Textile Recycling
Textile recycling should not be done for recycling sake but to advance circularity and minimise waste. In synergy with the other research thrusts, we seek to find alternative uses for by-products (e.g. polyester fibres) from textile recycling that cannot be used to create new cellulosic fibres.
Eco-Friendly Dye Removal Process and Natural Dyes Development
The presence of synthetic dyes and other additives impede the recycling and recovery of natural and cellulosic fibres. The common process of bleaching to remove these additives may emit secondary pollutants detrimental to the environment. In this thrust, RGE-NTU SusTex looks to leverage green chemistries to strip dyes on textile waste, and develop natural dye technologies.