$525,000 Conservation X Labs prize to save the oceans from microplastic pollution won by fabrics using squid feet, recycled methane, high-powered nano-lasers, DNA decoding and hydrogen bonding


WASHINGTON, March 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Ahead of World Water Day (March 22), five innovative projects aimed at preventing the devastating effects of microplastic pollution have won $525,000 as part of the Conservation X Lab’s (CXL), a technology company working to solve conservation problems, Microfiber Innovation Challenge.

The winners beat competition from 19 countries for their solutions to prevent the loss of microfibers that are released into water systems when synthetic fabrics are washed.

“These five worthy winners share revolutionary potential to protect planetary health and stop the damage of microplastic pollution to ecosystems and human health,” said Alex Dehgan, CEO of Conservation X Labs. “These tiny plastics are found in our drinking water, the food we eat and even the air we breathe.”

The winners:

  • Tandem Repeat Technologies (philadelphia cream) uses genetic sequencing and synthetic biology to produce a new fiber, Squitex, based on a unique protein structure originally found in squid tentacles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPTjFOwPdg0&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=10
  • mango materials (San Francisco) uses innovative manufacturing technology to turn methane from waste carbon emissions into biodegradable biopolyester fibers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1hwQIzfQeo&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=4
  • Welding of natural fibers (Illinois) manipulate hydrogen bonds in natural fibers (such as cotton) to determine shape and form at the molecular level, dramatically improving performance without using synthetic plastics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNv9aotyFVI&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=6
  • PANGAIA x MTIX Microfiber Attenuationa tech/fashion hybrid brand that already has its own line of microplastic-free clothing, was founded in Yorkshire, United Kingdomand use laser technology to reinforce the surfaces of fibers in a fabric in such a way as to prevent shedding of microfibers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL_Oow9Uz0c&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=8
  • Werewool Fibers, (new York) uses the power of natural proteins as inspiration for its fiber design platform from the DNA level, enabling custom characteristics such as color, elasticity or moisture management. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sXs1QsrwIA&list=PLO53PF2xpbPHkOQC1kDQJUEs3bDFzYmyc&index=12

Scientists are beginning to understand the scale of the problem microplastic pollution poses. Approximately two million tons of microfibers are released into the ocean each year. Microfibers have been detected at the top of Mount Everest as well as in animals living in the deepest part of the ocean. The ubiquity of microfibers means that it’s estimated that we each consume the equivalent of a plastic credit card every week.

Alex Dehgan, is available for an interview. Winners are also available for an interview. Photos/videos on request.

SOURCE Conservation X Labs

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