To enable large-scale commercial production of bio-derived elastane (spandex) using Qira, the next generation 1,4-butanediol (BDO), as one of its main ingredients, The Lycra Company has entered into an agreement with Qore LLC, South Bend, IN/USA. This will result in 70% of the Lycra elastane fiber content being derived from annually renewable feedstock. This change could potentially reduce the carbon footprint of Lycra fiber by up to 44% versus equivalent product made from fossil-based resources, while maintaining the same high-quality performance parameters of the traditional fiber.
Qira will be produced in Eddyville, IA/USA, at the biotechnology campus and corn refining operation of Cargill Inc., Wayzata, MN/USA. The facility, which is currently being built, will commence operations in 2024. The first renewable Lycra fiber made with Qira will be produced at The Lycra Company’s Tuas/Singapore manufacturing site in 2024.
The first generation of renewable Lycra fiber made with Qira will use feedstock from field corn grown by farmers in Iowa/USA and will enable a significant reduction in CO2 footprint. In addition to replacing a finite resource with an annually renewable one, another benefit for mills, brands and retailers is that there is no change in fiber performance, eliminating the need for any re-engineering of fabrics, patterns, or processes. Equivalent performance was demonstrated in 2014 when the world’s first bio-derived spandex was launched under the Lycra brand. The Lycra Company, Wilmington,DE/USA, has since been granted a patent for the process used to make renewable elastane from bio-derived BDO.
Lycra, Qore, Qira = Registered trademarks