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Primaloft reports encouraging trials with new cellulose

Adrian Wilson

Platform converts C-6 cellulose into four isolated building-block chemicals in a single chemo-catalytic step.

4th November 2022

Adrian Wilson
 |  Latham, NY, USA


Insulation leader Primaloft has recognised the writing on the wall for polyester fibre recycled from PET bottles in the longer term, and has embarked on a multi-year development project with Origin Materials.

Origin, based in West Sacramento, California, explains on its website that its feedstocks begin with air, not petroleum.

“Traditional carbon comes from petroleum extracted from below the earth’s surface, but there is a great untapped carbon ocean – atmospheric CO2 – just waiting for us,” the company says. “Trees and plants capture CO2 through photosynthesis and package it up as cellulose. It’s the original carbon-capture technology – and any cellulose will do.”

The Origin platform converts C-6 cellulose into four isolated building-block chemicals in a single chemo-catalytic step with almost zero carbon loss. The catalyst is 100% recovered and the process does not rely on expensive sugars or fermentation.


As a result, because the process sequesters carbon, the materials are not just sustainable, but restorative, and Origin already has agreements in place with leading corporations including ATC Plastics, Intertex, Kuraray, LVMH, Mitsubishi and Revlon.

Speaking at the virtual Innovate Zero Carbon conference (November 1-3), Primaloft’s senior vice president of product strategy Tara Maurer-Mackay said that initial trials in producing fine denier polyester fibres using Origin’s process had been highly encouraging.

“This is a multi-year development but we expect to make small amounts of the new fibre available for specific capsule collections next year, and to make industrial quantities available by 2026,” she said. “We know where the future is going and the Origin process is moving from fossil-based raw materials to low-cost bio-feedstocks. We are also exploring methods of fibre-to-fibre recycling and the use of monomaterials.”

Primaloft, which has a customer base of over 950 global brands, first introduced recycled PET (rPET) into its range in 1997, and has subsequently significantly expanded its use. Over 86% of its products in 2021 contained over 50% rPET. The company has also continued to refine products through introductions such as Primaloft Bio, the first 100% biodegradable insulation, in 2018, and its PURE platform for manufacturing technology which significantly reduces carbon emissions in 2019. The PURE platform is now being adopted at manufacturing plants globally.

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