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Biotechnology for a less polluting and nature-preserving textile dyeing process

Groupe CTT

  Posted: September 15, 2021

  Location: Saint-Hyacinthe, QC

  Internship Program: Clean Tech

  Salary Range: $20,000 - $30,000

  Hours per Week: 35

  Start Date: July 20, 2023

  End Date: February 29, 2024

Job Description

Historically, natural dyes from plants, minerals and animals have been used to dye fabrics. Indigo, in particular, was extracted from plants to produce blue textiles. The production of plant dye involves farming, extraction and processing to extract the natural dye. The traditional indigo dyeing process involves a fermentation called "vatting" to reduce the indigo to a leuco-soluble form. The textile is recovered and dried to oxidize the soluble leuco into insoluble indigo. With industrialization, fermentation was replaced by chemicals to increase the rate and decrease the cost of production, and the name vatting is still used to refer to the reduction of the dye. Later, the development of efficient synthetic patways in the late 19th century led to the replacement of natural dyes with synthetics. Most natural dyes were replaced by synthetic dye based on fossil fuel.
Today, the use of chemicals makes the wet processing of textiles (bleaching, dyeing and finishing) a critical point in the textile value chain. Wet processing has significant environmental and socio-economic impacts. The large amount of chemicals used in the wet processing has a significant impact on ecotoxicity, not because of the toxic nature of the chemical, but because of the large amount of chemicals discharged into waterway. The socio-economic impact is primarily in the form of damage to human health. Some of the chemicals used in detergents, dyes and water-repellent agents are known to be highly carcinogenic to humans. Some dyes may contain toxic heavy metals, or carcinogenic azo. Moreover, the wet process is energy intensive as massive amount of water needs to be heated. Asia, which now accounts for most textile manufacturing, relies primarily on fossil fuels for energy, which contributes to greenhouse gases. Innovative methodology and chemistry can reduce the waste of chemicals, energy and water associated with wet processing.
We work hard to develop and optimize alternatives to synthetic chemicals. These can have the advantage of being renewable, biodegradable and having minimal impact on the environment. Traditional plant dyes are renewable, but the land and water used to produce the plants may pose a sustainability problem given the high global demand. For example, one estimate states that 1.7 million acres of land are needed to produce 8,000 tons of indigo. An area equivalent to 16 times Montreal, to produce about 10% of the annual demand. Today, vegetable indigo represents less than 1% of world production. In addition, plant dyes are only available in muted color palettes, and many do not reach high enough performance levels to attract a larger share of the textile market. Innovations are needed to meet global industry demand with an alternative dye to fossil fuels.
To overcome the limitations of natural plant dyes, it is possible to use new biotechnologies. Bacterial dye produced in a bioreactor can be a natural alternative to synthetic dye, without causing problematic land use. Material Futures Inc. manufactures environmentally friendly dyes from modified microorganisms. Microbial pigments provide a consistent source of natural, non-toxic dyes that are light and heat stable and can be used in the same manner as synthetic dye pigments for various fiber compositions. Other advantages of bacterial pigments as an alternative to synthetic chemicals are that they are renewable, biodegradable and have minimal impact on the environment.
With its industrial partners, the CTT Group has developed dyeing procedures using microbial pigments. Despite the performance obtained, the dyed fabrics obtained showed poor UV resistance. Hence the present project with the objective of improving the resistance to light among others such as reducing the cost and pollution of the dyeing process. Two continuous processes will be evaluated to offer a wide range of available fabrics: pad dyeing and dope dye technique.

Duties and Responsibilities

For several years, the CTT Group has sought to circumvent the various difficulties of textile companies by promoting new technologies. With the shift taken by the government towards environmentally friendly products, the CTT Group is committed with its industrial partners to work on the formulations used as well as on the application processes with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint. of the final product. biotechnology is a way to reduce the environmental impact during the fabric manufacturing process. This change in process will require the development of a new generation of formulations for dyeing textiles. At this level, the trainee under the direct responsibility of the supervisor in partnership with the various members of the R&D team of the CTT Group will participate in the performance of the following tasks:
1) Carry out a technology watch study on biotechnology and dyeing.
2) Develop a dye formulation for polyester.
3) Study the process parameters (time, concentrations and temperature) on the characteristics of the final product.
4) Compare the prototypes made with conventional references. Optimize formulation.
5) Carry out a comparative study of the ecological impacts of two processes.
6) Writing a report and experimental protocols

Knowledge and Skills

- Knowledge of chemistry, materials and/or natural sciences.
- Knowledge of safety rules for laboratory work
- Knowledge of Word, Excel and Powerpoint software
- Teamwork, Motivation, sense of self-criticism

Education Required

Bachelor's or Master's degree in Chemistry, Materials, Chemical Engineering or any specialty relevant to the subject

Certification Required


  How to Apply

To apply, send your resume to

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