Peter Faaborg Andersen
Global Marketing & Business Development Director-Textile, Leather & Wastewater Solutions Novozymes
Cotton is the main target fibre for enzymatic solutions
Enzymatic solutions are replacing a number of processes involving chemicals in the textiles industry. Peter Faaborg Andersen, Global Marketing & Business Development Director-Textile, Leather & Wastewater Solutions at Novozymes talks about the enzymatic solution offered by the company in an interview with Fibre2Fashion.
With enzymatic treatments, can the same dyeing, bleaching and bio-polishing treatment be received by textile manufacturers as chemicals?
Enzymatic solutions are an important part of the garment manufacturing tool box. They are able to replace traditional chemicals and save water as well as energy in a number of different textile processing steps. In application areas, enzymes are replacing oil-based chemicals. For bio-polishing, this is an enzymatic solution, which helps reduce fuzz or pills. It thus allows garments to 'stay new' for long. However, garment manufacturers can use different kinds of enzyme solutions and processes with varying degree of cost-efficiency and sustainability benefits. The traditional technology is to use bio-polishing enzymes under acidic conditions in a separate process step.
At Novozymes, we have spearheaded the development and introduction of bio-polishing enzymes which works at neutral pH, allowing a more gentle and efficient bio-polishing process. Furthermore, Novozymes has introduced a unique bio-polishing process which allows both bio-polishing and hydrogen peroxide removal directly in the dye-bath. This allows garment manufacturers to ship process steps and to save significant amount of water, energy and processing time. The Novozymes Combipolish process is now recognised as the best practice by leading industry experts. It has won a number of sustainable innovation awards over the last few years, for example from the prestigious Society of Dyers and Colorists.
Which of your products have a high demand in the textiles industry, and in which countries do you see an active adoption of enzymatic treatments?
In terms of geography, we see an increasing adaptation of Novozymes technology across the main textile geographies driven by increasing demand for enzymatic solutions that enable more cost-efficient, sustainable and high-quality garment processing. One example is the proprietary Novozymes Combipolish concept. It allows garment manufacturers to combine bio-polishing and hydrogen peroxide removal directly in the dye-bath. Also, we see increasing demand for our low-temperature processing solutions, e.g. for low-temperature bio-polishing, desizing, denim bleaching, etc. Other examples would be the newly-launched solutions for more gentle denim bleaching, removal of pin holes for woven fabric, and a new solution for more sustainable and cost-efficient towel production.
Can enzyme treatments be used for fibres besides cotton? If yes, what kind of treatments and for which fibres?
Cotton is the main target fibre for enzymatic solutions. However, there are applications for other fibre types too. One example is that Novozymes, only recently, launched a new strategic partnership with Lenzing at ITMA in Italy to use the Novozymes bio-polishing technology to enable better pill and fuzz removal on Lenzing's Tencel fibres. The solution is marketed under the join Novozymes or Lenzing trademark 'Tencel Combipolish'. Solutions such as enzymatic desizing and bleach clean-up are also relevant across non-cotton fibres.
What kind of looks can be created using enzymes for denim abrasion and denim finishing?
The enzyme tool-box for denim abrasion and denim finishing offers the possibility to make a wide range of looks catering to specific fashion trends across regions and segments. One traditional example is the use of enzymes to replace pumice stones in denim stone washing. Another example is using laccase enzymes for denim bleaching. Last year, Novozymes introduced a new sustainable bleaching technology that gives fashion designers a new fashion tool-box to play with, and which allows denim processing at room temperature. We call it Denilite Cold. This technology has been very well received, particularly with the growing number of laundries who work with denim and stretch fibre blends. Here, the more gentle bleaching process plays a key role as it prevents fabric damage to stretch fibres.
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