DITF: Textiles from plant residues and essent...
DITF

Textiles from plant residues and essential oil

(Source: DITF/Carolin Weiler)
(Source: DITF/Carolin Weiler)

The blaze of color usually seen in Provence may soon also be seen in the state of Baden-Württemberg/Germany. In a joint research project, the DITF, the University of Hohenheim, and naturamus are testing suitable lavender varieties and developing energy-efficient methods for producing essential oil from them.
There are also ideas for recycling the large quantities of residual materials generated during production: The German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF), Denkendorf/Germany, are researching how they can be used to produce fibers for classic textiles and fiber composites.
At the company naturamus GmbH, Aichelberg/Germany, there is a high demand for high-quality essential oils for medicines and natural cosmetics. There is much to be said for growing lavender locally. The ecological cultivation of the lavender fields would help to increase the proportion of organic farming in the country and save transport costs.
There is much to be said for growing lavender locally. The ecological cultivation of the lavender fields would help to increase the proportion of organic farming in the area and save transport costs. The cultivation of lavender in the region means breaking new ground. The University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart/Germany, is therefore testing 5 different varieties at 4 locations: Initial results are expected at the end of 2022.
During the extraction of the essential oils, a large amount of residual material is produced that has not yet been utilized. Fibers for textiles can be obtained from the lavender stalk. Developments and analyses with this renewable raw material are already underway at the DITF. In order to utilize lavender distillation residues, the plant stalks with their fiber bundles must be broken down, i.e. separated into their components. Within a fiber bundle, the lignified individual fibers are firmly bound together by plant sugar, pectin. This connection is then dissolved, for example with bacteria or with enzymes.
Various preparation techniques and methods to produce long and short fibers from the material are currently being investigated. Lavender residues could be another natural component for high-tech applications in technical textiles.

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