Saturday, December 30, 2006

Corny clothes suddenly fashionable

Maybe Dow Chemical Co. really is gonna save the world. So forget all those mean-spirited things we've been saying about their TV ad campaign.

Dow, the company we love to pick on (since it' the biggest kid on the block around these parts), has helped developed a new synthetic fiber made of corn.

This can be used to make clothes and other stuff in an environmentally friendly manner.

Ingeo, the new fiber developed by Cargill and Dow Chemical literally means “ingredients from the earth.”

Ingeo is the world’s first and only ‘greenhouse neutral’ polymer and achieves a 68 percent reduction in fossil fuel use compared with traditional plastics.

“This is one of the most significant developments in the textile industry of our generation,” said Engro CEO, Larry Grider
, it says here.

Here's how it's made:
First, sugar is extracted from the corn kernel.

The sugar is then fermented and transformed into a high performance polymer and the Ingeo fiber is extracted. The remaining proteins, oils and fibers of the corn kernel remains can be used for livestock feed.

Ingeo uses a minimum amount of energy to produce the corn-based fiber—as much as 68 percent less than required for synthetics, and it generates 15 percent to 60 percent less greenhouse gases than the material it replaces.

If this can help save the polar bears, we're all for it. Now, if Dow can just resolve this Bhopal public relations disaster, maybe we'll get off their back.

1 comment:

JD Allen said...

I worked with some of that stuff a few years ago, in some of its earliest incarnations, trying to extrude it into pellet mixtures.

Most people don't realize how many tries it takes to make a polymer (of any chemical, much less a vegatable)that is fit to use to make something.

The first few efforts are usually kaka. That is the way that stuff was then. It was a damn good idea. I am glad they have made so much progress. But just wait - there will be lots more, now.