Oregon State University (OSU) researchers will receive $810,466 from the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to further their efforts in developing a more environmentally friendly process for dyeing fabrics.
The grant was awarded as part of this year’s U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which recently bestowed $2.84 million to a total of five universities that will work on new technologies to spur job creation in the American textile industry.
“The textile industry is facing sustainability and environmental challenges as it continues its global growth,” Cynthia Sagers, vice president for research at OSU, said in a statement. “This grant will enable our researchers to discover new ways to decrease dye toxicity while reducing water and energy consumption and eventually saving consumers money on their clothing purchases.”
Formed two years ago, the fund will provide a total of $10 million in grants over the course of five years, with a focus on improving the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. OSU was awarded as part of this round for its proposal of using continuous digital printing and the drying of bio pigment inks for environmentally conscious fabric dyeing.
The research group said that it’s committed to developing a process that will reduce toxic substances and dyes by 100 percent, as well as create a cost-competitive incentive to bring the textile dyeing and printing industry back to the U.S., and plans to start work next month.
The goal: to have a process ready for commercial use at the end of the three-year grant period.
The other 2016 grant winners, announced last week, are Clemson University, University of Texas at Austin, North Carolina State University and Cornell University.
“Through these grants we hope to help remove the barriers to revitalizing and growing U.S. apparel manufacturing, while creating more sustainable production processes,” Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer at Walmart, said.