Sustainable DWR textile coatings inspired by Australian Bee Biopolymers

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Industry partner

Humble Bee Bio

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Research organisation

Deakin University

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Manufacturing investment

$566,248
($70,000 IMCRC)
for 2022

New, high-performance materials

Challenge

Durable water repellent (DWR) on textiles and apparels are harmful derivates of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which impact people’s health and damage the environment. With consumers demanding more sustainable, eco-friendly DWR finishes, New Zealand biotech start-up Humble Bee Bio has identified an opportunity to use their recombinant biopolymer technology, inspired by an Australian solitary masked bee, as an alternative, sustainable DWR coating.

Proposed Solution

In collaboration with Deakin University, Humble Bee Bio (HBB) aims to develop a formulation and production method for sustainable DWR coatings using HBB’s novel biopolymer which is not only water-repellent, but also resistant to high-temperatures and strong chemicals.

Via analytical and laboratory experiments, the research team will characterise HBB’s biopolymer further, develop DWR formulations and produce initial DWR coated textile demonstrators. The samples will be used to evaluate the product against current market standards.

The project aims to significantly advance HBB’s ability to establish manufacturing facilities to produce the biopolymer and DWR treatment at scale and offer sustainable textile treatment products to fill the market gap.