Read in 1 min

Algae Fabrics

What if the solution to our future lies just below the surface of the ocean? According to Dutch inventor and Global Change Award 2015 winner Tjeerd Veenhoven, that might just be the case.

Winner 2016

The innovation in a nutshell

Using algae to make renewable textiles.

More in detail

Tjeerd Veenhoven has invented a technology through which vegan leather can be made from algae. Tjeerd’s idea emerged while visiting his parents in France where he noted algal build-up along the coast.

“Algae is a big problem in France. It stinks and pollutes beaches. There’s so much of it you can pick it up by the handful.” Algae cell walls contain 70% cellulose while eucalyptus, commonly used to make textiles, contains only 25%. Tjeerd’s technology extracts cellulose from the cell walls and immerses it in a liquid that enables the fibres to stick together in straight lines.

Another advantage of algae is that no land is required to grow it, and it obviously doesn’t need to be watered with fresh water.

“When I applied to the Global Change Award, my idea was still really just a vision. We had done some desk research before, but after winning the award it has been all about finding out if my idea could work out. I don’t think the extensive research had been possible without the award.”

Tjeerd Veenhoven

Team members: Tjeerd Veenhoven
Country: The Netherlands