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These Three New Green Chemistry Innovations Could Reshape the Sector

Three startups in the textile sector may be set to reshape sustainability with innovations that curb chemical use.

Those startups were among the 10 innovative companies chosen by the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) to pitch their sustainable products and manufacturing technologies to large, strategic companies at the Annual Green & Bio-Based Chemistry Technology Showcase & Networking Event.

As part of the competition, 16 companies—including Apple, BASF, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co., L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble—provided their list of sustainable chemistry technology needs regarding chemicals, materials, products and manufacturing technologies. The GC3 hosts the competition to stimulate and support green chemistry innovation, as well as facilitate conversations between startups, chemical suppliers, brands and retailers.

“As in years past, these startups will begin discussions leading to joint development agreements, licensing and investments with companies that are seeking new chemical technologies,” Monica Becker, co-director of the GC3 and Collaborative Innovation Platform lead, said. “Our goal is to get these technologies to market and scale to contribute to safer and more sustainable products and operations.”

The startups selected are working to bring to market a variety of green chemistry technologies to their respective industries.

For textiles, one of those chosen was Acticell GmbH. Based in Wien, Austria, Acticell develops chemical technologies for the surface treatment of cellulosic materials, including denim fabrics and clothes. The non-toxic and environmentally friendly products can be used to enhance dyeing or as bleaching agents in place of more hazardous technologies.

The second selected startup, Checkerspot, commercializes bio-based polyurethanes, and textile coatings and finishes, through its innovation platform operating at the intersection of biotechnology and chemistry. The Berkeley, Cal. based company designs materials at the molecular level by engineering microbes to produce new building blocks and assemble them into materials with novel physical properties.

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Philadelphia-based Tandem Repeat Technologies, third in the group of textile innovators, has developed a protein-based biopolymer technology for the production of stretchable and tough thermoplastic fibers.  The technology produces programmable textiles and leathers with self-repairing capabilities.

The green chemistry showcase is sponsored by the GC3 Startup Network, which provides support for green and bio-based chemistry startups and the market adoption of innovative green chemistry technologies. The event is set for May 8 during the GC3 Annual Innovators Roundtable, at the headquarters of Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, Tenn.