The award ceremony took place together with the official opening of Techtextil and Texprocess 2019, organised by Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.
The ‘cork-a-tex yarn’ project was led by Sedacor (cork industry), together with Têxteis Penedo (textile industry), it also had the scientific and technical collaboration of CITEVE (Technological Center for Textiles and Clothing) and the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto. It also had the support of the Portuguese Government and the European Union. This is the first time that a Portuguese project has won this worldwide prestigious prize ever, said a press release from JPS Cork Group.
With an international patent, this disruptive product is being targeted and requested by several sectors and reference companies from all over the world, for applications in the form of fabrics or knitwear for sectors such as home textiles, clothing, footwear and fashion accessories, upholstery, mobility and others.
The partners Sedacor and Têxteis Penedo are already industrialising this new material which is expected to be available in the market in 2019. Sedacor is a company of the JPS Cork Group that since 1924 has constantly evolved with innovative and sustainable solutions made of cork for a wide variety of sectors.
Cork is a bio-based renewable material used to close wine bottles. In a search to be even more sustainable the cork industry was looking for a solution for its waste, which today is burned. The researchers found out that this cork waste can be coated on a textile yarn to form a cork yarn. The jury appreciated the effort of Sedacor to make the cork industry a more sustainable industry. Burning waste is not a sustainable solution even if this waste is bio based. Sedacor looked beyond its sector and beyond its competences to find the solution in textiles. Using this waste, a new type of cork yarn was developed with a natural cork look-and-feel and which will allow the development of new textiles.
Composed by cotton or other sustainable textile material together with cork waste, the new innovative and high performance yarn simultaneously incorporates the properties of textile substrates at the level of comfort, breathability, touch and appearance and the functional benefits of cork: natural, comfortable and warm feeling, hypoallergenic with high friction resistance and good resilience.
Cork is the nature’s own high-tech achievement with features that cannot be replicated by anything man-made. It is an emblematic European Heritage material widely recognised internationally. The cork oak forests in Europe are one of the 35 most important ecosystem hotspots in the world for preserving biodiversity and a natural CO2 retainer.
“The growing demand for new textile solutions, particularly in the area of eco-design and sustainability lead us thinking how to surpass the difficulties and limitations of using cork-based materials on the market apparel and home textiles. Considering the importance of the cork and textiles sectors in the Portuguese and European traditional Industries, led us to the emergence of the ‘cork-a-tex’ project - with the objective of developing sustainable textile substrates with cork waste from used cork stoppers, old cork products, or recyclable cork among others, thus a great example of circular economy,” said JPS Cork Group.
Techtextil is the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens, the largest and most recognised international event in this field and its awards are sought after by all who make research and innovation on that area.