To keep the color of the rivers in China natural, among other things, new manufacturing technologies are being developed. I’m really getting interested in this kind of stuff so maybe this will become a series of posts around material innovations. One of them is DryDye, a waterless dyeing process for textile fabrics. DryDye is developed by Yeh Group, a company focusing on innovative, environmentally responsible production of fabrics and garments for premium sports and intimate wear. In 2012, Adidas manufactured their first DryDye t-shirts.
The textile industry is one of the most water-intensive industries, consuming a Mediterranean worth of water every two years.
In a conventional process, it takes 25 liters of water to color one t-shirt.
With DryDye, it takes zero and they also claim using 50% less energy and 50% fewer chemicals in the dyeing process due to the use of compressed CO2.
(Claims are based on a Life Cycle Assessment by DyeCoo Textile Systems BV. Percentages are based on DyeCoo machinery results compared with industry averages of best available technology over the last 7 years.)
DryDye process utilizes by-product carbon dioxide for the dyeing of textile.
Compressed carbon dioxide is heated to about 31C and pressurized to 74 bar, which converts the CO2 into both liquid and gas. The dyes then can penetrate fibers and disperse throughout garments without the need for additional chemical agents. (http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/08/adidas-waterless-drydye-shirt/)
Currently Yeh Group has exclusivity rights for this process that they claim to be ”a real and significant breakthrough for the textile dyeing industry”.
This technology seems to be still taking its baby steps, as Adidas says they produced 50,000 t-shirts with DryDye in 2012. It will be interesting to see if they as well as other major players start using the technology more.