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On launches carbon emissions collection

MEG from carbon waste emissions is polymerized with purified terephthalic acid (PTA) into the final polyester.

20th November 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Switzerland


Swiss sportswear brand On is launching the Pace Collection based on a new polyester material called CleanCloud which incorporates a monomer made from captured carbon emissions.

The new apparel collection launch follows the announcement of Cloudprime – the first-ever shoe incorporating carbon emissions in partnership with LanzaTech in September last year.

LanzaTech, headquartered in Skokie, Illinois, uses a combination of biotechnology, artificial intelligence and innovations in mechanical and chemical engineering to manufacture chemicals using a process that recycles waste carbon rather than emitting it.

The company equips industrial facilities such as steel mills with bioreactor hardware that captures carbon-rich gases at source, before they can be released into the atmosphere. Inside the bioreactor, specially selected and naturally occurring bacteria consume the waste carbon to produce more sustainable versions of widely-used chemical building blocks through a proprietary fermentation process that is similar to conventional beer brewing.

In this case, ethanol was produced in the bioreactors, which was then dehydrated to become ethylene gas and turned into monoethylene glycol (MEG). Afterwards, the MEG is polymerized with purified terephthalic acid (PTA) into the final polyester. The polyester is extruded into a yarn and engineered into On’s CleanCloud apparel fabric.

 “The apparel Pace Collection is an additional step in our effort to move away from virgin fossil-based materials,” said Begüm Kürkçü, global head of ESG at On. “CleanCloud polyester is made of 20% recycled carbon emissions, replacing the same amount of virgin fossil-based materials and equally reducing carbon emissions by 20% compared to virgin polyester.”

CleanCloud is the result of five years of dedicated work, which began with finding the best possible partners. A collaborative approach is key to overcoming the challenges of developing such a complex technology at commercial scale, the company notes.

“Yesterday’s emissions are today’s apparel,” said LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren. “There is enough carbon above ground to make nearly everything we need. We are proud to be enabling the circular carbon economy by creating an ecosystem of like-minded partners such as On.”

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