As part of the Planet First program initiated by H&M Foundation together with HKRITA (The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel), the Carbon Looper project has come up with a method in which cotton textiles can be treated with an amine-containing solution that makes the surface of the fabric capture carbon dioxide from the surrounding air (a process known as adsorption).
The carbon dioxide can then be released from the fabric by being heated to 30-40°C, in a greenhouse for example, where it is taken up by the plants during photosynthesis, thereby being looped back into the natural carbon cycle.
The amount of CO2 that is absorbed by a standard-sized garment per day, is approximately equivalent to 1/3 of the amount that a tree absorbs per day. And after only three ‘loop-cycles’, the garment has effectively climate-neutralized itself – and instead starts to have a climate positive effect.
Other CO2 release methods, such as a regular laundry process or sequestering and turning the CO2 into a solid state are being researched in parallel. As are applications other than garments such as curtains, tablecloths, furniture etc.
Live-testing in restaurant
The current research phase involves live testing in collaboration with Fotografiska Stockholm, where the restaurant staff will wear Carbon Loopers in the form of aprons. The restaurant’s famous hydroponic garden in the basement serves as an excellent CO2 release facility in this part of the research which aims to further develop the material.
“Anything we do in the lab is only useful once it gets out of the lab. We will be monitoring the release process to see if we can speed it up, improve the carbon capacity of the material as well as developing more usesEdwin Keh, CEO at HKRITA