Bio-based substances recovered from waste could be used for water-repellent coatings on functional textiles. High-performance materials are currently being developed on the basis of raw materials produced from wastewater or waste, as well as other biogenic raw materials. Some of these have new and additional functions and are intended to replace petrochemical materials in the future.
In the EVOBIO project coordinated by Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Stuttgart/Germany, 19 Fraunhofer Institutes are working on solutions for a sustainable economy by developing new concepts that utilize material flows in bioeconomy process cycles to produce optimized materials for innovative products.
The researchers have a wide variety of applications in mind: Proteins produced from rapeseed extraction meal, for example, serve as oxygen barrier layers on food packaging. Protein-based nanofiber materials from various raw materials, such as kidney beans and rapeseed, are used to develop filter materials, coating agents, or wound dressing materials, and nanofiber nonwovens are spun from rapeseed protein.
Protein-based materials with water-repellent properties are also being developed. In the future, they could replace halogenated hydrocarbons in the finishing of functional textiles. In combination with polyglucosamine from chitin, which comes from the shells and carapaces of crabs, shrimps and prawns, the Fraunhofer researchers were able to demonstrate that functional layers with both water-repellent and water-vapor-permeable properties can be produced with bio-based and biodegradable materials.