Recycling for Value-Added Regenerated Cotton Fiber

EPA Grant Number: SU836787
Title: Recycling for Value-Added Regenerated Cotton Fiber
Investigators: Liu, Hang
Institution: Washington State University
EPA Project Officer: Sergeant, Anne
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017
Project Amount: $14,951
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2016) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , Sustainability

Description:

Develop an eco-friendly solvent system to dissolve cotton waste for regenerated cellulose fiber manufacture. Evaluate effectiveness by the properties of fibers produced and conduct lifecycle assessment to measure environmental impact.

Objective:

Due to the world population growth, living standard improvement, and the emerging fast fashion lifestyle, world cotton consumption has been growing steadily and as a result the cotton waste generated has been increasing accordingly. Most of the cotton waste goes to landfill, which is a huge waste of the excellent cellulose resource. In addition, substantial amount of greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxide) are generated by anaerobic decomposition of cellulose in landfill. Different from the current fiber recovery recycling method, where fibers are reclaimed from cotton waste and used for lower grade products, an innovative method to manufacture value-added fibers is proposed. The long-term goal of this research is to develop an eco-friendly and economically viable recycling method for post-consumer cotton waste by dissolving in an environmentally benign solvent system and spinning to manufacture regenerated cellulose fibers. The objective of the Phase I proposal is to establish an environmental benign solvent system to dissolve white pure cotton waste for fiber spinning.

Approach:

Using cotton waste as the raw material and cost-effective and eco-friendly chemicals as solvents to manufacture value-added cellulose fibers, the proposed project will demonstrate sustainable solutions to protect the environment, strengthen our communities, and foster prosperity. Educational materials for end users about properly disposing cotton waste and the potential of using the waste to manufacture regenerated fibers and instructional materials for undergraduate and graduate teaching will be developed from this project.

Expected Results:

The outcome of this project is an eco-friendly solvent system to dissolve cotton waste for regenerated cellulose fiber manufacture. The effectiveness of the solvent system will be evaluated by the properties of fibers produced. Lifecycle assessment of the fibers produced by this technique will be conducted to measure its environmental impact.

Supplemental Keywords:

Sustainable fiber production, waste to value, renewable fibers, green solvent;