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Absorboost - cellulose powder improving cotton quality

Project time period

20202024

This project is a spinoff from the successful Green Machine developed in 2018 by HKRITA and H&M Foundation. The cellulose powder generated from the Green Machine is clean and toxic-free. We are currently investing two applications of the powder: making new garments and improving cotton farming.

Together with Japanese fiber producer Daiwabo Rayon, the HKRITA research team are piloting making regenerated viscose fibers out of the cellulose power from the Green Machine, to be able to make new garments. Some prototypes have already been made.

Moreover – as a lucky unintentional consequence – the powder with its superabsorbent characteristics could be interesting for farming purposes.

India is one of the largest producer of cotton in the world, and contrary to what many think, most cotton is grown by really small scale farmers. However, the quality of the cotton is often lower than in other countries, meaning the farmers are paid less for their cotton. Together with Shahi, one of India’s largest apparel manufacturer, a small pilot with cotton farmers was undertaken in 2020.

By mixing the powder in the soil surrounding the cotton plants, the soil absorbed water more easily. As the plant remained healthier, the quality of the cotton fibers was improved and the harvest increased by 20%, while the need for irrigation was reduced saving water for the local communities.

“Across all replications, the plants with Absorboost had a higher yield compared to the control lines. There are other similar synthetic crop products, but we haven’t come across anything that is as eco friendly as this.”

Anant Ahuja, Head, Organizational Development, Shahi Exports

Half of India relies on agriculture, and as the weather becomes more unpredictable these findings could play a major role for Indian cotton farmers, and for communities nearby that are dependent on water.

Project Specifics

  • Program Period: 20202024
  • Focus Areas: Planet Positive
  • Partners: HKRITA