Nike tests a new technology to dye fabrics without water

Kenyan marathoner Abel Kirui ran for Olympic games in London last summer wearing a Nike uniform that was dyed in his nation’s colors without the use of water. The runner garments mark the first results from Nike’s new investment in DyeCoo Textile Systems Inc few times ago. 

Usually, it needs a lots of water to dye fabrics. As an average, between 100 and 150 liters of water is needed just to process a single kilogram of textile material, and the synthetic textile dyeing industry uses 2.4 trillion gallons of water per year. “That’s enough to fill 3.7 million competition swimming pools”, Nike said.

A new process that uses fluid carbon dioxide to dye fabric

DyeCoo designs and manufactures machines using a process that involves carbon dioxide (CO2) and non-toxic gases that come from the waste streams of other industries to dye  textile-materials. “The result is a dyeing process that is not only waterless, but also produces as much as 60 percent fewer carbon emissions than conventional methods“ Nike says in a news release. The waterfree dyeing process has also considerable lower operational costs compared to the conventional dyeing processes.

Advantages:

  • Elimination of water consumption
  • Elimination of wastewater discharges
  • Wastewater treatment process eliminated
  • Elimination of drying and dryer effluent
  • Reduction in energy consumption
  • Reduction in air emissions
  • Reduction in dyeing time
  • Surfactants and auxiliary chemicals in dyes eliminated
  • Dye utilization is very high with very little residue dye. Unused dye can be recaptured
  • Approximately 95% of used CO2 will be recycled
  • Fewer redyes are required
  • Color correction is easier compared to aqueous dyeing

The DyeCoo investment was the first made by Nike’s Sustainable Business & Innovation Lab, which have for mission to focus on making investments in sustainable production technologies.

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